From Social Economy Europe

Tomorrow 14 September at 9am CET, the State of the Union debate will be held at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Ahead of this important debate, Social Economy Europe’s President Juan Antonio Pedreño has sent an open letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stressing that social economy is already providing solutions to the multiple crisis that Europe faces, and that those solutions could be strengthened and maximised through an ambitious implementation of the Social Economy Action Plan that needs to be at the heart of Europe’s effort to achieve fair green and digital transitions, a new push for democracy, and an economy that works for people. 
Europe faces an energy crisis and economic and social turmoil fed by Putin’s aggression against Ukraine. A crisis which overlaps with the climate emergency, the digital transition, and citizens fatigue due to the experience of the COVID19 pandemic.

In this context of multiple crisis, the social economy is in the front line to provide solutions. Social economy enterprises are producing and distributing renewable energies and providing support to organisations and households to improve energy efficiency. They provide quality social services and work opportunities for all, including for those who have been forced to flee to the EU because of the war in Ukraine, or those internally displaced within the country. Social economy represents competitive entrepreneurial models that do not seek to maximise profits, but to reinvest them in quality services, jobs, and in the sustainable development of the communities in which they operate.

In the current difficult context,  the letter points out to some existing social economy solutions which are not yet fully exploited and supported. For instance, 1.250.000 Europeans already produce and consume clean energy through renewable energy cooperatives (REScoops), a movement that is likely to grow as by 2050 45% of renewable energy production could be in the hands of citizens, and about quarter of that could be produced through cooperatives. Many social economy entities also accompany citizens and companies to improve energy efficiency, and provide sustainable mobility solutions (railways, car sharing, biking etc.). 
Our objective is to capitalise on an ambitious SEAP to promote social economy among new and young entrepreneurs, and create more quality jobs all over the EU, growing from currently providing 6.3% of all EU jobs to 10% by 2030.

Many of SEAP strategic actions are already in progress as the proposal for a Council Recommendation on social economy framework conditions, the possible legislative actions on cross-border activities of associations and other NPOs, the InvestEU new financial products for social economy, the transition pathways for the social economy ecosystem, the guidance clarifying tax treatment of cross-border philanthropy, or the Youth Entrepreneurship Policy Academy. All these actions should be implemented in close cooperation with social economy stakeholders, that also deserve a better recognition as employers in the framework of the EU social dialogue. Therefore, we hope to see the social economy high on the 2023 European Commission’s work program, as well as part of your State of the Union Address. 

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