2022: A year of opportunities for the Social Economy to Scale Up

The Social Economy Action Plan, which is now avalaible in 23 EU official languages, was launched on December 9, although its social coming out took place on 16 December in Brussels, in an event at La Tricoterie (a cooperative) very well organised by the European Commission, fully respecting the current healthcare regulations.

The event (recording available here) gathered key speakers as Commissioners Nicolas Schmit and Thierry Breton, Nobel Prize winner and entrepreneur Muhammad YunusPatrizia Toia MEP, SEE President Juan Antonio Pedreño, a representation of the upcoming French Presidency of the Council; comentator at the Financial Times Martin Sandbu; and an excellent group of social economy entrepreneurs and practioners as Nicolas Hazard (special adviser to the Commission), Marta Lozano (Wazo Coop), Vesna Bajsanski-Agić (Mozaic Foundation), Sofi Fridland (Just arrived), and Jean Moreau (Phenix), among others. 

"L'économie sociale tricote des liens, de l'action collective."
Thierry Breton
EU Commissioner for Internal Market

Now that the Social Economy Action Plan is a reality and that we can congratulate ourselves by the important amount of reactions and its visibility on the media (including articles in the Financial Times, the Pioneers Post, Care News, El Diario and the Co-operative News), we can ask ourselves what comes next? With its 38 actions the Social Economy Action has a 2030 horizon for its implementation, although most of the actions for which a calendar is provided are foreseen in 2022 and 2023.

What is next?

  • On January 1st the French Presidency of the Council will begin with an important agenda to accompany the success of the Social Economy Action Plan, including an EU Social Economy Conference to be held on 17-18 February in Strasbourg (with support of the city, the Commission, the EESC and the Social Economy Intergroup).  
  • A Transition Pathway for a more resilient, sustainable and digital Proximity and Social Economy Ecosystem: The Commission has already launched a survey targeting all social economy actors and institutions/organisations engaged in the promotion of the social economy. The main objective is to make sure that the social economy accelerates and succeeds in the green and digital transitions. The survey, for which the deadline is 28 February is the first step of a participatory process in which all social economy stakeholders will be invited to participate and engage.  
  • The European Parliament (Employment Committee, with an opinion from the Regional Development Committee) will provide a Report on the Social Economy Action Plan, a first official input from another EU Institutions aiming to accompany and support the success of the initiative. This work will be led by Jordi Cañas MEP (Renew, ES) in cooperation with Heléne Fritzon (S&D, Sweden), Katrin Langensiepen (Greens, DE), Margarita De La Pisa Carrión (ECR, ES), Konstantinos Arvanitis (The Left, EL) and Niyazi Kizilyürek (The Left, CY).  
  • The Social Economy Intergroup will also closely follow and input the Social Economy Action Plan with a renewed agenda in 2022. 


And there will be much more as concrete actions and funding/finance opportunities to promote the social economy under the Single Market Programme and the InvestEU, the Pact for Skills for the Social Economy and Proximity, the new European Competence Centre for Social Innovation, a close monitor of opportunities to scale up social economy solutions under the Recovery and Resilience Falicity and its National Plans, a Youth Entrepreneurship Policy Academy, the New European Bauhaus and the Renovation Wave, and many other initiatives as the Council Recommendation on Social Economy, or the Single EU Gateway for the Social Economy that need to be prepared. 

In short, 2022 will be a year of new opportunities for all social economy actors, to make sure that we can collectively unlock our full potential for Just Transitions and to build a future of shared and sustainable prosperity. In cooperation with EU Institutions, Member States, regions, cities and other organisations, the social economy will make it happen, we will deliver.

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