Social enterprise is a key element of the European social model and fundamental for the success of the EU2020 strategy. By supporting and promoting social enterprise, Europe strengthens its growth and competitiveness potential and its capacity to create social value. The EESC supports the Commission's launch of a political framework and action plan to promote social enterprise in Europe. In its opinion, it stresses the importance of its implementation at both EU and Member State level as well.
The revised SBA for Europe marks a decisive new stage in the political recognition of SMEs and above all of micro-enterprises. This EESC opinion recommends that the European institutions, Member States and the regions adopt it as the basis for their SMEs policies as well as for their economic and industrial policies. It insists on recognising the SBA's "Think Small First" principle when drafting legislation for SMEs. The EESC notes that the SBA will not succeed unless a genuine "multi-stakeholder and multilevel governance partnership" is established where economic and social partners and all representative public and private stakeholders are involved in political discussions concerning SMEs.
Exchange of best practices, sufficient funding, minimisation of red tape – what is needed to revitalise and modernise small retailers, was discussed at the EESC's SME, Crafts and Family Business Category meeting. Business associations and a representative of the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (European Commission) met with members of the EESC's SME category on 26 February. The aim of the discussion was to examine the outcomes of the study on The future of retail in city-centres and the priorities of European SMEs in retail.