The purpose of the opinion is to examine the extent to which existing EU company law currently serves as an "expedient" for the politically-desirable Green Deal and which gaps still need to be closed, in particular regarding corporate social responsibility obligations. The opinion will aim at following-up on the European Commission's initiative on due diligence and broadening the debate on sustainable corporate governance interlinking the social, environmental and economic dimensions.
The EESC believes that the practical applications of blockchain technologies can significantly improve the performance of social economy organisations, benefiting them, their members and, above all, their end users. Besides, the EESC believes that real involvement of social economy and civil society organisations is imperative to ensure that the huge opportunities offered by the new technologies are geared towards delivering benefits, access, transparency and participation for all, and not just for a new "digital economy elite".
The EESC considers that social economy enterprises have a fundamental role since they are active in four key aspects of the migrant integration process: health and assistance, housing, training and education, as well as work and active inclusion. It believes that social economy enterprises can encourage and support not just the creation of new jobs, but also entrepreneurship and access to economic activities for migrants and refugees. It therefore asks the European institutions to prioritise policies geared towards social economy enterprises, a request it also made in its contribution to the Commission's 2018 work programme.
Europe is facing complex challenges calling for renewed social and economic models. To deliver progress, growth and wellbeing in Europe, a shift towards an innovation-based economy is needed. The EESC therefore calls on the European Commission to develop a policy framework to support these new business models emerging. The EESC calls on the Commission in the upcoming review of the Single Market strategy, due in 2017, to fully incorporate these new business models, and suggest new measures in this direction. It is crucial that Member States and the European Institutions fully recognise and promote "fairer" business models, which are centred on delivering innovation for social development by integrating social impact measurement in parallel to reporting economic progress.
Exploratory opinion requested by the Luxembourg presidency
The EESC welcomes the debate on social impact measurements for social enterprises. However it feels that an incorrect or rushed approach may counteract the EU Institutions’ aim to support the development of the social enterprise sector. The EESC therefore urges the Commission to prioritise further awareness-raising and full implementation of the Social Business Initiative agenda. It recommends that, rather than developing a new method, the Commission build awareness of the most commonly used principles.
The EESC welcomes the Commission proposal but highlights the fact that it can only be one component of dedicated financial instruments for social businesses. The Committee reminds the Commission that some elements of the proposal have to be clarified in order to allow such funds to be successful, both for the financial community and for the final beneficiaries.
The EESC welcomes the actions proposed by the Commission to develop tools to improve awareness of the sector and the visibility of social enterprise and is pleased to note that the Commission has taken on board several points from its exploratory opinion on the same issue. The EESC calls on Member States to develop national frameworks for the growth and development of that kind of enterprise.