On June 13th, the Commission delivered a proposal for Council recommendation for Member States to design and implement social economy strategies.
Despite their contribution to society, social economy organisations often face obstacles in developing and scaling up their activities due to a lack of understanding and recognition of their business models. To overcome these challenges, the proposed Council Recommendation calls on Member States to develop comprehensive strategies for the social economy to promote an enabling environment for the social economy across all relevant areas, by adapting policy and legal frameworks. In doing so, the aim is to promote quality job creation, boost the local economy, and strengthen social and territorial cohesion.
For instance, the Commission proposes measures to:
- Design labour market policies that support employees in social enterprises (e.g., through training), promote social entrepreneurship, and ensure fair working conditions through social dialogue and collective bargaining.
- Acknowledge the role of the social economy for social inclusion, e.g. in providing accessible and high-quality social and care services and housing, particularly for disadvantaged groups.
- Improve access to public and private funding, including to EU funds.
- Enable access to market opportunities and public procurement.
- Make use of the opportunities provided by State aid rules to support the social economy, including provisions for start-up aid, reintegration of disadvantaged workers, and support for local infrastructure.
- Ensure that taxation systems support the social economy, through the simplification of administrative procedures and the consideration of appropriately designed tax incentives.
- Raise awareness of the social economy and its contributions, notably through research and data.
In addition, the Commission also recommends that Member States make optimal use of available EU funding, such as the European Social Fund Plus, the European Regional Development Fund, and InvestEU, to assist Member States in promoting the social economy.
Member States will discuss the Commission proposal for a Council Recommendation with a view to its adoption by the Council. Once adopted, the proposal invites Member States to adopt or update their social economy strategies within 18 months. Member States are also recommended to create a one-stop shop support for the social economy, set up local and/or regional contact points acting as ‘social economy ambassadors’, and appoint social economy coordinators in national institutions to ensure consistency across policies.
The Commission will monitor the implementation of the strategies through regular consultations with Member States via the Employment Committee and the Social Protection Committee.