The EU’s new and long-awaited Social Economy Action Plan was announced at a press conference on 9 December 2021 by Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and Commissioner Nicolas Schmit.
The Action Plan was anounced together with a major EU initiative around digital platforms.
The actual launch of the Social Economy Action Plan took place at a launch event online and in Brussels on 16 December.
According to EU figures, the social economy in Europe consists of more than 2.8 million organizations employing approximately 14 million people, which is about 6.3% of the EU workforce.
With the action plan, the European Commission will help organizations in the European social economy, by utilizing their economic and job-creating potential, as well as their contribution to a fair and inclusive growth and the green and digital transformations we face.
Overall, the new action plan has three main initiatives:
1. It should create the right conditions for organizations in the social economy sector to thrive and develop.
Political and legal frameworks must be created, that contribute to creating an environment in which the European social economy can flourish. It includes eg. a framework for taxation, public procurement and state aid, which must be adapted to the needs of social economy organizations.
In order to push for this development, the Commission will make a recommendation to the European Council on the development of the framework conditions for social economy organizations in 2023. The Commission will also provide guidance to Member States on the fiscal framework for social economy organizations and facilitate access to guidance on state aid. The action plan must also help to improve best practice for socially responsible public procurement and to promote the social economy outside the EU’s borders.
2. Better opportunities must be created for social economy organizations to start up and scale.
Social economy organizations must be able to benefit from support for business development to start and develop as well as to retrain their employees. In the period 2021-2027, the Commission aims to increase its support beyond the estimated € 2.5 billion previously allocated to the Social economy sector (2014-2020).
The Commission will also launch a new EU Social Economy Gateway in 2023. A large single portal where social economy actors can find all the information they need in one place. On the platform there will be information on EU funding, policies, education and various initiatives in the field. The European Commission will also launch new financial products in 2022 under the InvestEU program and improve access to finance for social economy organizations. In 2022, the Commission will also set up a European Competence Center for Social Innovation.
3. It must be ensured that the European social economy field and its potential is recognized
The action plan aims to make social economy actors more visible and to better recognize their work and potential. In this context, the Commission will carry out a number of communication activities that emphasize the role and specificities of the social economy field.
In addition, the Commission will launch a study to collect qualitative and quantitative data to better understand the social economy field across the EU. Training courses for public officials on various topics relevant to the social economy field will also be organized, just as social economy will be promoted at regional and local level by increasing cross-border exchanges on the subject and much more.
Read more and download the EU’s Social Economy Action Plan and related documents here
Video from the landing event on December 16 can be seen here
This publication has been prepared within SENBS project No. 2020- 1-EE01-KA204-077999. The content of this publication is the sole responsibility of the project coordinator and may not always reflect the views of the European Commission or the National Agency.