EU Ministers for Employment, Social Policy Issues, Equal Opportunities and Health met in Brussels on 7 December 2015 for the last Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs (EPSCO) Council. Among other things, at the meeting The Council adopted conclusions on the promotion of the social economy, as a key driver of economic and social development in Europe.
In the conclusions it is mentioned that the social economy plays an important role in the transformation and evolution of contemporary societies, welfare systems and economies thus substantially contributing to economic, social and human development across and beyond Europe and are supplementary to existing welfare regimes in many member states.
It is also mentioned that the social economy is an important tool, that contributes to the security and wellbeing of citizen, and what is more important that the social economy is a sector, that has been able to resist the financial crisis better than other sectors and is gaining still grater recognition on an European level.
Further more it is stressed in the conclusions that the social economy has become still more political visible as a sector, that is aan important pillar regarding employment and social cohesion across Europe and as important to reach the goals in the Europe 2020 strategy.
The Council also has several recommendations. In the conclusions the council encourage member states and the Commission to establish, implement and maybe develop European, national, regional and local strategies and programmes to promote social economy, social entrepreneurship and social innovation.
The council also recommends to improve the visibility of the social economy, where it is relevant by developing partnerships, to create awareness of the political process and a better recognition of activities, implemented by relevant shareholders, among others social enterprises, and the effect they have in society.
The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) usually meets four times a year and brings together ministers responsible for employment, social affairs, health and consumer policy from all EU member states. Its objective is to increase employment levels and improve living and working conditions in the EU.
Read more about EPSCO here
Read the conclusions from EPSCO here