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The Social Economy Today - Group III meeting, 15/05/2019

The Social Economy Today debate took place on the 15th of May and was chaired by Mr Balon. The participants of the debate were our members Ms Leroux, Mr Cabra de Luna, Mr Haken, Mr Schlüter, Mr Coheur, and Ms Rodert, together with the representative of the European Commission, Mr Patrick Klein.

The discussion started with presentations on best practices in the member states, Ms Leroux presenting the case of France, Mr Cabra de Luna the case of Spain. Moreover, Mr Haken talked about the best practices in the Czech Republic, and Mr Schlüter about the ones in Germany.

The presentations on the best practices in the member states were followed by commentaries. First, Mr Coheur, the rapporteur of the EESC opinion on Social Economy Enterprises (SEEs), discussed about the SEEs and the diversity of regulations on social economy currently existing in the member states. Ms Rodert, president of the INT section discussed about the relationship of social economy and the single market, as well as about the potential of the social economy as a driver for social innovation.

The final commentary was given by Mr Klein, Administrator at the European Commission, leading the social economy team. He highlighted the role of the SEEs in the European social policy as well as the regional development in economic, industrial, and social policy sectors. He also emphasized the significant role of SEEs in achieving the SDGs as supporters of innovation. Mr Klein expressed that the European Commission would like to develop a number of actions to support social economy in Europe.

We think that the social economy should not just have the role of care, of support, it should also have another role, and that is to give support to innovation. This should be at the heart of our objectives for sustainable development.