Social Economy Europe responds to latest Commission recommendation

‘Only by changing the way we produce and consume will we be able to overcome the failures of today’s economy that brought us to permanent and multifold crisis’

Social Economy Europe (SEE) has called on EU countries to adopt the European Council’s recommendations on developing a framework for the social economy.

The call follow the European Commission’s proposal on 13 June for a Council Recommendation on Developing Social Economy Framework Conditions. Following up on 2021 Social Economy Action Plan, it recommends concrete measures to support the social economy and calls on member states to develop comprehensive strategies.

SEE, the voice of 2.8 million European social economy enterprises and organisations, has released an analysis of the proposal, urging member states to adopt the recommendation.

“Developing framework conditions for the social economy is about much more than labour and social inclusion,” said SEE, “it is also about supporting other EU policies and their implementation such as the European Pillar of Social Rights, accelerating the digital and environmental transitions, supporting the EU industrial strategy (at EU, national and local levels), the Gender Equality strategy 2020-2025, the European Care Strategy, the European Strategy on the Rights of the Child, the Reinforced Youth Guarantee, the Proposal for a Council recommendation on strengthening social dialogue in the European Union.”

Boosting a lively civil society ecosystem, adds SEE, will “lead to a truly democratic Europe.” 

SEE also stressed the diversity of economic and legal models within the social economy as well as its approach to inclusiveness. It called on the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council, which brings together ministers from all EU member states, to “support and strengthen the entrepreneurial and social innovation dimensions of the social economy”.

It warned that “only such an open and inclusive approach can encompass the multifold dimensions of the social economy”, which, it added, “is transversal to all sectors of activities and almost all policy fields”.

“Social economy is not a sector,” added SEE, “but an economy built on strong humanistic values: the primacy of people as well as social and/or environmental purpose over profit; solidarity, democracy, social cohesion or territorial commitment.”

Since the recommendation will not be legally binding, SEE believes it is crucial that the Council unanimously adopts the most ambitious version possible of the Commission’s proposal. “This means concretely adopting strong policies and legal frameworks for the development of flourishing social economy ecosystem across the EU, co-designed with SE actors,” it said.

Strong representation for the social economy, it added, will need mechanisms for national and local government to collaborate to implement the recommendations across the EU.

“What SE enterprises and organisations are calling for is not privileges,” said SEE. “It is about creating a level playing field with mainstream enterprises, to support an economy that answers the real societal and environmental challenges the EU is facing.

“Only by changing the way we produce and consume will we be able to overcome the failures of today’s economy that brought us to permanent and multifold crisis. Because the 21st century needs a sustainable people-centred economy.”