European Commission presents action plan to boost social economy and create jobs – Eurasia Review
The European Commission on Thursday presented an action plan to help the European social economy to thrive, harnessing its economic and job creation potential, as well as its contribution to a fair and inclusive recovery, and to green and digital transitions .
Social economy organizations are entities that prioritize social and environmental goals, reinvesting most of their profits back into the organization. There are 2.8 million social economy entities in Europe employing 13.6 million people and providing solutions to the key challenges of our societies. They cover a wide range of sectors and forms, from care services to recycling; from cooperatives to social enterprises. Increased support for the social economy not only creates jobs, but also enables organizations to increase their social impact across the EU. Today’s Social Economy Action Plan paves the way for the prosperity and growth of social economy organizations.
The Commission proposes to act in three areas:
1. Create conditions conducive to the development of the social economy
Policy and legal frameworks are essential to create an enabling environment for the development of the social economy. This includes taxation, public procurement and state aid frameworks which must be adapted to the needs of the social economy.
To address these issues, the Commission will propose a Council recommendation on developing the framework conditions for the social economy in 2023. It will also issue guidance to Member States on tax frameworks for social economy organizations. social economy and will facilitate access to guidelines on state aid. The action plan also aims to improve good practices in socially responsible public procurement and to promote targeting of the social economy outside the borders of the EU.
2. Open opportunities for social economy organizations to start up and grow
Social economy entities should benefit from support for the development of enterprises to start up and develop, as well as to retrain and upgrade their workers. For 2021-2027, the Commission aims to increase its support beyond the 2.5 billion euros estimated previously allocated to the social economy (2014-2020).
Among other actions, the Commission will launch a new EU social economy portal in 2023 to ensure that social economy actors can find all the information they need in one place on funding, policies , training and EU initiatives. It will also launch new financial products in 2022 as part of the InvestEU program and improve access to finance. In 2022, the Commission will also create a European Competence Center for Social Innovation.
3. Recognize the social economy and its potential
The Action Plan aims to make the social economy more visible and to improve recognition of its work and its potential. The Commission will carry out communication activities emphasizing the role and specificities of the social economy. In addition, the Commission will launch a study to collect qualitative and quantitative data in order to better understand the social economy in the EU. It will also organize training courses for public officials on various topics relevant to the social economy, promote the social economy at regional and local levels by fostering cross-border exchanges, and much more.
With the action plan, the Commission is also launching a ‘transition path’ to help the green and digital transitions of the social economy in dialogue with the public authorities and interested parties. The Commission is seeking public opinion on the transition path through an EU investigation open until February 28, 2022.