The Belgian presidency would like the EESC to provide an opinion on how to tackle poverty through social innovation and the development of the social economy. This opinion will highlight the reforms needed to adapt the regulatory frameworks and to ensure sufficient financing for social economy initiatives.
One of the main conclusions of the 8th Cohesion Report is that although cohesion and convergence among regions in the European Union has improved, there are still remaining gaps especially in less developed regions related with their territorial characteristics. EU islands, mountain areas and sparsely populated areas still face many challenges on their growth and income and disparities exist.
In these regions, there are still a lot of gaps in terms of employment and investment, social exclusion is evident and gender disparities have not diminished.
In its own-initiative opinion, the EESC examines 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 aims 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.
Social economy is a key and a growing contributor to the European economy and the job creation.
This exploratory opinion has been requested by the Portuguese presidency of the Council. Social economy represents a key and a growing contributor to the European economy and the job creation. It has a positive impact on working conditions and the enlargement of the labour market. Social economy has a pivotal role to play in the future Action plan for the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights by promoting social inclusion and a better access to the labour market.
The EESC strongly supports the Commission's proposal – Next Generation EU – as a specific tool for a quick and effective recovery.
The EESC takes a very positive view of the Commission's two main decisions:
- to introduce an extraordinary financial recovery instrument as part of the multiannual financial framework
- to raise common debt, which will be repaid over a long period of time, and prevent the extraordinary financial burden from falling directly on the Member States in the short run.
The EESC strongly welcomes the fact that the newly proposed instrument should be closely coordinated with the European Semester process, and furthermore welcomes the Commission's proposal to introduce additional genuine own resources based on different taxes (revenues from the EU Emissions Trading System, digital taxation, large companies' revenues).
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.