The plenary session of the European Parliament on 6 July approved the report promoted by the Social Economy Intergroup, headed by the MEP and spokesperson for Employment and Social Affairs, Jordi Cañas, to implement the European Social Economy Action Plan.
The Plan was presented by the European Commission last December and the proposal approved by the Parliament makes several contributions to it. This report will guide the recommendations expected to be adopted by the European Council next year.
According to the President of Social Economy Europe (SEE), Juan Antonio Pedreño, “this support means that the European institutions consider the social economy to be a lever for change in the EU and that it must necessarily form part of all EU policies in order to respond to the challenges facing Europe”. He continued: “This approval means that the European Parliament is urging the Commission, the Member States and social economy actors to go further in promoting the social economy in Europe, with the aim of increasing the share of the social economy in European employment from 6.3% to 10% by 2030”.
For all these reasons, Pedreño believes that “we are at a unique moment for the social economy business model that we have never experienced before”.
For an appropriate legislative and financial framework
The text approved by the European Parliament calls for a legislative and financial framework that promotes the social economy business model throughout the EU.
It urges the different states to provide a common definition of social economy in accordance with the main characteristics of the model, in order to facilitate the creation of social economy entities in all countries.
In addition, the proposal calls for tapping into the funding potential that the EU has put in place through the recovery plans, and investing in social economy projects that drive fair green and digital transitions.
Setting a timetable
The proposal also calls for a timetable to be set for the implementation of the Action Plan and for the horizontal mainstreaming of the social economy in all relevant EU policies, programmes and practices.
Furthermore, in order to give the sector greater visibility, governments are called upon to appoint social economy officers and to create contact points to facilitate access to finance and all tools to support entrepreneurship through a one-stop shop.
Increasing and improving training
The report also proposes specific training for young people, such as a Youth Entrepreneurship Policy Academy, greater use of Erasmus Plus and Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs opportunities and the integration of this model at all levels of education.
On the other hand, it points out that women represent more than 60% of employees in the social economy, and the wage and leadership gaps are smaller than in other models, so it calls on the Commission and the Member States to remove all barriers for women to achieve gender equality; it calls for the strengthening of the gender perspective in policies and access to funding for women involved in social economy entities.