"There is an urgent need for structural changes, political innovation and systemic change where the social economy and civil society should be at the heart of these changes, acting as catalysts, innovators and facilitators of this transformation", said Georges Dassis in his opening speech at the Social Economy Category meeting, organised by EESC on 29 June, which brought national government members, MEPs and European Commission officials. The Social Economy Category is composed of thirty-six members, thirty-five drawn from the Various Interests Group and one from the Employers Group, representing cooperatives, mutual, associations, foundations and social NGOs.
The president of EESC addressed the participants of the meeting underlining the importance to increase the EU's commitment to support the social economy and to release its full potential by recognizing and promoting the diversity of business models that exist in Europe. Mr. Dassis also expressed his pleasure that the EESC has two bodies dealing with the social economy and social economy enterprises: the Social Economy Category and the Permanent Study Group on the social economy enterprises.
In conclusion, he stressed that we need to pay attention in order to further strengthen the visibility and recognition of social economy enterprises, demonstrating their added value and their crucial role as social innovators.
The Social Economy Category has appointed as its spokespersons Polish member Krzysztof Balon, President of the Council of Working Community Associations of Social Organisations and Alain Coheur, Member with responsibility for European and international relations in the Belgian National Union of Socialist Mutual Health Funds/Solidaris – both are members of the Various Interests Group. The secretariat of the Category is provided by the Various Interests Group.