GECES calls on President Juncker to develop an EU Action Plan for social economy and social enterprises

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

On behalf of all GECES members, Denis Stokkink, GECES Rapporteur Général, and Hugues Sibille, President of Crédit Coopératif Foundation and Avise, firmly ask to Jean-Claude Juncker to incorporate into the European Commission 2017 Work Programme an EU Action Plan on social economy and social enterprises.

During the last European Commission Expert Group on Social Entrepreneurship (GECES) meeting of June 30th 2016, the GECES called on the European Commission President Mr. Juncker to incorporate into the European Commission 2017 Work Programme an EU Action Plan on social economy and social enterprises to strengthen EU support for social economy and social enterprises. POUR LA SOLIDARITÉ is delighted that the request was well received by the European Commission which confirmed that the various points raised will be underlooked closely in the near future.

As a reminder, the European Commission was asked to urgently adress four themes of particular importance:

  • The need of visibility, recognition and identity of European social economy and social enterprises. Supporting a stronger place for social economy and social enterprises in public policies, nurturing a more assertive social enterprise community and developing a sharper picture on its societal added value will not only benefit social entrepreneurs and practitioners but also public administrations and the general public. 
  • The challenges faced by European social economy and social enterprises with regards to access to funding. As stated in the Luxembourg presidency conference “Boosting social enterprises in Europe” in December 2015, there is an urgent need to develop an adequate European financial eco-system capable of providing effective support for social innovation and social economy. 
  • The necessity to construct an adequate regulatory framework for European social enterprises and social economy. Legal and regulatory frameworks can clarify the definition of a social enterprise/social economy enterprise, its mission and activities and help to open up opportunities for fiscal relief, provision of support and access to public procurement and other markets. 
  • The need for European involvement in supporting social economy and social enterprises across the world in particular in the context of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The EU is indeed currently going through a particularly difficult period marked by the rise of populism and nationalism, distrust towards political institutions and the refugee crisis. It is now essential that the values upon the EU was founded – democracy, equality, solidarity and social cohesion – remain at the top of the European Commission’s agenda. This implies that economic actors, which are, by nature, already carrying these values such as social economy and social enterprises, are strongly supported by the European institutions.

This call echoes Mr. Juncker personal willingness to see the European Union dedicated to being triple-A on social issues as well as the conclusions of the Council of December 2015, under the Luxembourg presidency, promoting social economy as a key driver of economic and social development in Europe.