The European Commission will launch the European Action Plan for the Social Economy on Wednesday 8th December 2021.

The objectives of the action plan are:

  1. To recognise the social economy as a transversal actor in the main socio-economic policies of the European Union.
  2. To promote the convergence and coordination of the different public authorities involved in the promotion of the social economy by defining strategic objectives and benchmarks at EU level.
  3. To foster a conducive ecosystem for the growth of the social economy, improving its contribution to key EU objectives and allowing social economy enterprises to take full advantage of the single market, EU funds and financial instruments.

This follows a 2018 proposal by Social Enterprise Europe (SEE) for a European public policy covering the whole social economy. Other recent actions at EU level have included the launch in 2011 of the Social Business Initiative (SBI), and the 2016 Start-up and Scale-up initiative. Crucially, it follows the growing activity in the sector and awareness of its positive contribution to society.

SEE highlights the need for an Action Plan to:

  • Boost the visibility of social economy enterprises and organisations
  • Support them to generate social and technological innovations
  • Improve their access to finance and EU funding
  • Remove the legal obstacles impeding their ability to grow and operate in the Single Market on an equal footing with other types of companies
  • Inspire public authorities from the EU and its neighbouring countries to promote the growth of the social economy as a driver of economic and social progress for all

It calls the Action Plan a “key tool to systematically incorporate the social economy into the different socio-economic policies of the European Union, as well as into its actions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”.