The issue of integration has always been one of the European Economic and Social Committee's greatest concerns and it has devoted opinions on the subject and organising conferences and events.
In these stormy times, improving SME policy is high on our agenda. SMEs are important drivers of growth, jobs and social cohesion but because of the global crisis they face more and more financing constraints.
In 2008-2009, they suffered a double shock: a drastic drop in demand for the goods and services they provide, and, on top of that, a credit crunch. These events have had a serious effect on SMEs’ cash flows and liquidity. Many of them were forced into bankruptcy, thus contributing to record levels of unemployment in many European countries.
Today, and with this speech, I will try to explain who is interested in social business in Europe, what it is, why we need to develop it and how we can do so. Keep in mind these 3 main messages:
• social business can be a solution for economic growth AND social development;
• social business can become DNA for tomorrow's Europe;
• social business can help people to engage in building a sustainable Europe.