The last few months have been difficult for Europe and the whole planet. Almost all Europeans have lost a family member, a friend or acquaintance because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A disruptive virus that has changed our plans for this year 2020, causing the loss of human lives, an unprecedented public health crisis in Europe and a deep economic and social crisis.
However, in these complicated circumstances, all Europeans and the rest of the world’s citizens have the opportunity to give the best of themselves to overcome the crisis, to adapt to the new normality until we manage to defeat the virus and bet and fight for our future. A future that must always be better, aimed at finding solutions to the challenges facing our societies: such as rising inequalities, climate change, exclusion, the economic and social divergence that remains as a result of the latest crisis, or the need to modernise our economies – digitalisation is a fundamental challenge – maintaining and strengthening good working conditions and the best welfare systems in the world.
These days, the EU Institutions have shown that this is Europe’s moment, the time to face up to our present and our future; the time to develop and implement an ambitious roadmap so that we all move forward and no one is left behind. From Social Economy Europe, the voice of the 2.8 million social economy enterprises and organizations in Europe, we value very positively the work of the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission to approve a Recovery Plan #NextGenerationEU –with 750 billion to invest in the recovery of our economies– at the level of theneeds and hopes of the EU citizens.
It is time to develop and implement an ambitious roadmap so that we all move forward and that no one is left behind. The European Green Deal and the announcement that in the fourth quarter of 2021 we will have a European Action Plan for the Social Economy, the design of which will be coordinated by Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit, should serve to deepen and give greater coherence and transversality to European policies to promote the Social Economy. We are living through a very important moment, which is fundamental also for the Social Economy. In this year 2020, social economy has been included in up to 21 European Commission communications, such as: the European Action Plan for the Circular Economy, the Industrial and SME Strategies, the Pact for Skills, the initiatives for equality and against discrimination of Roma and LGTBIQ individuals, and the new European consumer agenda.
Also, this year 2020, Spain chairs the Monitoring Committee of Luxembourg Declaration, a high-level group formed by over 16 EU Member States that prioritise the social economy. Moreover, Spain is making progress with a Ministry of Labour and Social Economy and coordinating its social economy policies with Italy, France, Portugal and the Mediterranean countries, in collaboration with CEPES. There is a lot of work to be done in the coming months and the need to do it together is a challenge that we must accept.
Congratulations to Ciriec for the launch of Social Economy News which will be an essential means to improve the visibility and knowledge of the Social Economy community.
Juan Antonio Pedreño, President of Social Economy Europe