Social Europe can be translated into business opportunities and much-needed job creation. In the current crisis situation, where the number of people without a job or access to economic resources is steadily increasing, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) wants to strengthen growth, employment and competitiveness, through social enterprises while creating a more inclusive society that is in line with the Europe 2020 strategy.
At the Conference Social Enterprises and the Europe 2020 Strategy: Innovative solutions for a sustainable Europe, held on 3 October in Brussels, the Various Interest Group of the EESC analysed the present and future of social enterprises in Europe. "Social enterprises have proven to be more resilient in the current crisis, and should therefore play a key role in Europe's exit strategy from the crises while contributing to a faster and fairer recovery. We call on national and European policy-makers to politically support the social economy and social enterprises, and to create a level-playing field which will unleash the potential of this key economic sector", stated Luca Jahier, President of the EESC Various Interests Group.
The social economy sector already employs more than 14 million people in the EU, which amounts to more than 6% of all workers. The social economy is a key element of the European social model, especially in times of crisis. However, social enterprises do not enjoy a level playing field with traditional economic operators. Without overcoming legal, administrative, financial and political obstacles, social enterprises will not be able to fully enjoy the benefits of the single market, despite the richness and the innovative leadership which exists at all levels of the sector.