On June 30th, the European Commission published its “Long-term vision for the EU’s Rural Areas: for stronger, connected, resilient and prosperous rural areas by 2040”. This publication aimed to identify the challenges and concerns faced by rural areas and highlight opportunities that are available for them. It proposed notably a Rural Pact and a Rural Action Plan to make rural areas stronger, more connected, resilient and prosperous. Furthermore, a “rural proofing” will be put in place whereby all EU policies are reviewed through a rural lens to check their potential impact and implication on rural jobs, growth and sustainable development.
Work Integration Social Enterprises (WISEs) are often implanted locally, including in rural areas and have a strong impact at the local level. Indeed, they don’t relocate and are strongly committed to the economic and social development of the place where they operate. This is why ENSIE is very happy to see that in the text, social economy organisations are acknowledged as holding “significant potential to increase residential attractiveness and empower citizens and communities”.
The Communication also underlines that the future European Action Plan on Social Economy and the European Cluster Collaboration Platform will “address challenges and opportunities by promoting social economy and social enterprises innovation and helping to pool business resources in rural areas, as well as to support social economy stakeholders in innovation, quality job creation and social inclusion”.
The creation on links between the social economy, and WISEs in particular, and rural areas is crucial, are some of them are working for example in social farming or short food supply chains, as demonstrated in the JustGreen project we are partners in. Therefore, ENSIE is very happy of the connection made in this Communication and hope that it will be pursued by concrete actions and funding in the follow up actions as well as in the Social Economy Action Plan.