Social economy and social enterprises

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"The key role of the social economy in responding to societal challenges is clear: in these times of economic crisis, the social economy sector has been extremely resilient, namely by creating jobs, especially because it is a sector where social innovation can express itself fully ", declared the EESC president at the opening of the conference on The Social Economy as a key player in providing effective answers to current societal challenges in the EU and the world.

Organised by the Slovak Republic's Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family, within the framework of the Slovak Republic's Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and in conjunction with the European Commission, the conference took place on 30 November, providing participants with  the opportunity to discuss how to stimulate the development of social enterprises in Europe. This high-level international conference brought together Prime Minister Robert Fico, the Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and Family, Ján Richter, the European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Elżbieta Bieńkowska, and MEP Jens Nilsson of the Social Economy Intergroup,.

In  his speech, Georges Dassis highlighted the fact that the social economy was responding in good time to the new societal challenges: to increase life expectancy, the social economy was creating  jobs in the personal services sector; in response to the challenge of climate change, the social economy was creating social enterprises concerned with their environmental footprint; and lastly, in response  to the challenge of migration, the social economy was creating social enterprises for the integration of refugees, as a result of which the EESC had started work on an own-initiative opinion on social enterprises and migration.

In conclusion, Mr. Dassis stated that, in order to move the social economy forward, we needed to create synergies between the social economy sector and the European and international institutions, referring to the example of the First European Day of Enterprises in the Social Economy that the EESC had organised on 1 July 2016.