From Social Economy Europe

The Social Economy Action Plan is almost here!

The Committe of the Regions approves its opinon

The European Action Plan for the Social Economy will be launched by the European Commission in the last quarter of 2021. Last Thursday 1st of July, the European Committee of the Regions (CoR),  a political assembly composed of 329 members from all EU countries who have been elected at local or regional level; unanimously approved its opinion on Action Plan for the Social Economy, available here.

The rapporteur of this opinion is Mikel Irujo Amezga, Regional Minister for Economic and Business Development of Navarra Region in Spain, a region with a strong social economy ecosystem that leads a smart specialisation partnership on social economy alongside with other regions as Murcia, Emilia Romagna, Lapland, Örebro and the Republic of Slovenia. Rapporteur Mikel Irujo led this opinion in cooperation with SEE Director, Víctor Meseguer, who was appointed as an expert. Some of the main policy recommendations and proposals in the opinion include:

  • A Social Economy Action Plan with a timescale of at least five years for its implementation.
  • Develop a suitable European legal framework for the social economy, which provides for a common definition based on organisational and operational criteria (where the main objective is to serve the collective or general interest, democratic/participative governance and reinvestment of most profits to carry out sustainable development objectives).
  • Carry out a study on transfers of enterprises to employees through social economy formulas. Boost the exchange of best practices between Member States, local and regional authorities and social economy networks to support social economy’s potential for industrial entrepreneurship.
  • Create a single online platform to support social economy enterprises and organisations, which links all European studies and reports on the social economy and the opportunities offered by the EU to these enterprises and organisations. This Platform should be designed and implemented in cooperation with GECES and social economy networks.
  • Appoint on a yearly basis a European Social Economy Capitaland conduct a communications campaign on the social economy and social economy entrepreneurship.
  • Include social economy employers in the EU cross-sectoral social dialogue.
  • A strengthened European Commission Expert Group on Social Economy and social enterprises (GECES), including social economy representative organisations and stakeholders, Member States, and regional and local authorities engaged in the development of social economy.
These are only some of the recommendations provided by this very rich opinion which also refers to other key areas as upskilling and reskilling, industrial policy, public procurement and access to finance and EU funding. The full opinion is available here in various EU languages.

Member States push for a strong Social Economy Action Plan

The way towards Strasbourg 2022

Last week SEE Vice-Presidents Jérôme Saddier (President of ESS-France), Patrizia Bussi (Director of ENSIE) and SEE Director Víctor Meseguer, accompanied by Klara Drèze, intern at SEE, met with the French State Secretary for Social and Solidarity Economy and responsible economy Olivia Grégoire, at the French Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels. 

The meeting served to confirm the  willingness of the French Government and Social Economy Europe to achieve a strong Social Economy Action Plan addressing key areas such as: 

  • The recognition of the social economy in all its diversity, as a key player of Europe’s Social Market Economy, through the Treaties, other soft law instruments and through offering support to Member States which are drafting social economy laws and public policies. The Commission should act as a facilitator and peer learning between MS and networks should be further promoted.
  • Access to finance: Including common reflections on arising opportunities in the framework of InvestEU, the Recovery & Resilience Plans, Cohesion Funds etc. and on the key role of the EIB group in supporting access to finance for innovative social economy projects.
Last but not least, on Tuesday 6 of July, the Bureau of the Social Economy Intergroup, represented by Patrizia Toia MEP and Jordi Cañas MEP, met with the Mayor of Strasbourg Jeanne Barseghian and her team, including Pierre Roth Vice-President of Strasbourg’s Eurometropole, to exchange about the upcoming French Presidency European Conference on Social Economy, to be held in the city Strasbourg on 17-18 February 2021. SEE was represented by President Juan Antonio Pedreño, VP Patrizia Bussi, Director Víctor Meseguer and SEE team, Nicholas Clark and Klara Drèze. 

This conference is expected to be a major milestone in terms of convergence of the social economy agenda with other major EU and global issues such as the Conference on the Future of Europe, opportunities for youth empowerment and active participation in the labour market but also in social and political life; integration opportunities for migrants, Green Deal and more. 

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