A non-exhaustive review of new opportunities accompanied by some open questions
Dearest friends of the European Social Economy community,
Last year ended up with the culmination of an amazing collective work to achieve the Social Economy Action Plan (SEAP), which is now available in 23 EU official languages. However, more than a culmination, the launch of the Social Economy Action Plan marks a new beginning, full of opportunities for the social economy to scale up, grow, innovate and continue providing collective solutions to societal, economic and environmental challenges.
In this year 2022, the implementation of the Social Economy Action Plan begins, and Social Economy Europe is ready to play an active role alongside with its members, partners, and with the wider social economy community: all hands are needed to achieve the ambitious objectives of SEAP for the period 2021-2030.
What is on now?
A Transition Pathway for the Green & Digital Transitions of the Social Economy and Proximity Ecosystem
The Commission has launched a survey to share views, ideas and proposals on the transformations that the social economy needs to implement to succeed and lead fair green and digital transitions. The survey is just the beginning of a participatory process, which is also an opportunity to connect and build cooperative projects. Working on alliances for the upskilling and reskilling of social economy's employees and entrepreneurs will be also fundamental.
Financing the Social Economy to innovate and Scale Up
The Social Economy Action Plan aims to go beyond the estimated 2.5 billion euros invested in the social economy over the 2014-2020 programming period. How to achieve this? The InvestEU programme is an essential part of the answer: new financial products will be launched this year aimed at mobilising private financing for innovative social economy projects. These new financial instruments should be carefully designed in close cooperation with social economy stakeholders and financial intermediaries as ethical finance, cooperative banks, microfinance, credit unions, philanthropy etc. We must make sure that all social economy enterprises and organisations (from SMEs to large groupings) can benefit from these financial instruments. The new single EU Social Economy Gateway, proposed by SEE and that will be launched in 2023 will play a key role. There are other funding/financing opportunities under the ESF Plus, the ERDF, the Single Market Programme and the National Recovery and Resilience Plans funded by the Next Generation EU (Recovery and Resilience Facility).
Boosting social economy's development all over the EU
The French Presidency of the Council has convened an informal meeting of Ministers responsible for social economy to be held on 17 February in Strasbourg. The proposal of a council recommendation on developing social economy framework conditions will be among the main items in the agenda of the ministerial meeting. This year, the Commission will start to organise webinars and workshops for public officials in relation to various relevant policy fields for the social economy (socially responsible public procurement, state aid, statistics etc.). SEE, and its members, are also particularly interested in the actions to support the development of social economy representative networks, particularly in Member States where the social economy ecosystems are not developed to their full potential.
Other key areas of interest in 2022
In short, many new opportunities for the development of the social economy that we should tackle together, offering a democratic, fair and prosperous project for the Future of Europe.
As stated before, we are ready for this new beginning.
Juan Antonio Pedreño, President of SEE
Víctor Meseguer, Director of SEE