European Action plan for the Social Economy – The Seven Pillars
The following seven pillars for a European Action Plan for the Social Economy have been proposed by Social Economy Europe.
Pillar 1: Establish a common understanding of social economy enterprises and organisations in Europe.
Pillar 2: Improve the visibility of social economy enterprises and organisations and of their values and characteristics.
Pillar 3: Measure and further document the weight of the social economy and its effective contribution to the socio-economic development of the European Union.
Pillar 4: Provide a conducive ecosystem for the growth of social economy enterprises and organisations, supporting them to access to finance and to scale up, and by establishing the necessary legal framework, allowing them to fully operate trans-nationally in the single market.
Pillar 5: Further integrate the social economy in EU funds and programmes such as the ERDF, ESP Plus and the cohesion funds.
Pillar 6: Foster the role of the social economy in the external action of the European Union.
Pillar 7: Consolidate and strengthen a permanent and structured dialogue between EU institutions and the social economy.
The European Action Plan for the Social Economy is due to be launched on Wednesday 8th December 2021.
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:
- To recognise the social economy as a transversal actor in the main socio-economic policies of the European Union.
- 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.
- 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”.