On Wednesday 8 February 2023 the plenary of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), one of the EU’s main consultative bodies alongside the EESC, adopted the opinion “Creating an enabling environment for the social economy – the local and regional perspective”, whose rapporteur was Ricardo Rio, Mayor of Braga (EPP, PT).
This opinion demonstrates the strong interest of cities and regional authorities on social economy and acknowledges its importance for the society, recognizing the importance of a “vibrant social economy ecosystem” for a sustainable development model in all territories.
The opinion, fully endorses the European Commission’s Action plan for the Social Economy (2021), the updated EU Industrial strategy that identifies the social economy and proximity as one of the 14 industrial ecosystems for Europe’s recovery and resilience, as well as the Transition Pathway on Proximity and Social Economy.
The CoR points out the importance of providing updated data on the social economy in Europe, providing also a common methodology for its collection, in line with the work recently launched by the Commission, and with the good practices of countries as Portugal that already have periodic national social economy satellite accounts, embracing the whole diversity of the social economy. The Committee also “challenges the EU institutions, the Member States and the local and regional authorities to develop a common Plan for the Promotion of the social economy” in permanent dialogue with social economy representatives.
Among other policy proposals, the CoR calls to establish clear guidelines on a specific taxation and state aid regime for the social economy, urges the EU to develop a taxonomy of social investments, in line with market requirements and with the importance of mobilising more social investments, and calls on the Commission to appoint -on a yearly basis- a European Social Economy Capital to strengthen the visibility of the social economy and its contribution to the development of local communities.
Juan Antonio Pedreño, President of Social Economy Europe, said: “We welcome this excellent CoR opinion. Social economy enterprises never delocalise, and reinvest most of their profits in the local communities. The social economy is strongly linked to proximity. It is the economy that Europe needs to strengthen its resilience, cohesion, innovation and strategic autonomy.”