The Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE) cannot ignore the model of economic governance created by the social economy. Its existence is based on historical foundations anchored in many European countries where it is both a social and an entrepreneurial dynamic. In some other countries, it is the subject of renewed interest. The European Commission is devoting an action plan to it to unleash its full potential. The European Parliament has already dedicated many reports to it, but today it is necessary to take further steps. The social economy must be promoted in the work of the CoFoE, for its values and democratic principles, for its entrepreneurial diversity and for its role in enhancing active citizenship.
Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 has proved to be an endurance test for human and social rights, democratic values, the rule of law and economic resilience in the EU. While navigating stormy waters, organised civil society is playing a key role in coping with the countless pandemic-related challenges at European, national, regional and local level.
The role of social economy in a fair and sustainable recovery: input for the future Action Plan on social economy
On 17 February 2021, the European Economic and Social Committee has organised a hearing in the framework of its exploratory opinion requested by the Portuguese presidency on The role of social economy in the creation of jobs and in the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
The EESC organised its 4th edition of the European Day of Social Economy Enterprises in Strasbourg, on 27 November. The event which was coorganised by the City of Strasbourg and the Eurometropole, and the French Ministry for an ecological and solidary transition was entitled ''The Social Economy: mobilising cities, regions and civil society. Pact for Impact for the European Union''. The aim of the event was to review the progress made in setting up an ecosystem for social enterprises and to see what are the next steps for this model of enterprise model to be recognized and more widely disseminated.
In the framework of its own initiative opinion on "Blockchain and distributed ledger technology as an ideal infrastructure for Social Economy", the EESC organizes on 29 May 2019 a public hearing on "Blockchain: technology for the social economy 4.0".
The objective of the hearing will be to give the floor to experts in the field, but also to present case studies aiming at showing how Social Economy can benefit from this new technology.
The Social Economy Enterprise (SEE) model offers a framework for mobilising and enhancing newcomers' skills. SEEs facilitate the settlement and integration process for immigrants by providing them with employment or training and helping them with practical settlement support. Although they operate in different ways in different national contexts, Social Economy Enterprises have managed to define common principles of action – inclusive, subsidiary protection of the most disadvantaged people – taking a proactive approach to receiving migrants. In this way they have mobilised the relevant communities, activated networks and partnerships, and cooperated with central and local administrations to organise reception and integration processes.
The European Commission and the EESC co-organize, on the sidelines of the Summit, an event on the role of the social economy in the future of work.
The objective is twofold: on the one hand, to review the progress made in building an ecosystem for social enterprises and, on the other hand, to see what the next steps are for this enterprise model to be recognized and more widely disseminated. The European Day of Social Economy Enterprises is also an excellent opportunity to give the floor to the actors in the field by bringing together the EESC's institutional partners and a number of sector representatives as well as several stakeholders in order to have a comprehensive view of the situation, create synergies and discuss how to proceed from the creation of an ecosystem to a systemic change at European level.
New technologies and digitalisation: opportunities and challenges for Social Economy and Social Enterprise
The European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee held a joint workshop on "the impact of digitalisation and new technologies on social economy". The workshop was was be organized around 4 panels. This joint event's purpose was to contribute to the work of the permanent study group on "Social Economy Enterprises", but also to strengthen synergies between the EESC and the Commission in promoting the social economy agenda.
The first European Day of Social Economy Enterprises brought together the EESC's institutional partners, as well as several stakeholders in order to have a comprehensive view of the situation, create synergies and discuss next meaures and actions to be taken in order to fully unleash the potential of the sector. The event entailed three workshops to allow participants to have their say.