EU action plan on social economy is launched with references to the work of the UNTFSSE

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On 9 December 2021, after a process of consultation with citizens and stakeholders, the European Commission (EC) published the Social Economy Action Plan « Building an economy that works for people: an action plan for the social economy”.

The Action Plan represents a milestone in providing a policy framework on SSE in European Union. It was developed to help the European social economy thrive, tapping into its economic and job-creation potential, as well as its contribution to a fair and inclusive recovery, and the green and digital transitions.

The Action plan recognizes social economy organisations as entities which put social and environmental purposes first, reinvesting most of their profit back into the organisation. It acknowledges that the SSE offers solutions to key challenges in societies in different sectors and forms, from care services to recycling; from cooperatives to social enterprises. It envisions supporting the 2.8 million social economy entities in Europe that employ 13.6 million people.

The action plan proposes various actions for 2021-2030, focusing on state aid, legal frameworks, socially responsible public procurement, promotion of social economy, and access to funding among others. It is divided into three main sections:

  • Creating the right conditions for the social economy to thrive. This section focuses on improving the legal and policy framework and promoting the social economy at different level. At international level, it is stated that “there is also scope to strengthen dialogue and collaboration on the social economy with key international partners such as the OECD, the UN Task Force for Social and Solidarity Economy and the International Labour Organization. This will both help raise the profile of the social economy beyond EU borders and allow better sharing of available policy guidance and tools developed by the European Commission, in particular in cooperation with the OECD. The Commission will build on those initiatives and further promote the social economy on the international scene.”
  • Opening opportunities for social economy organisations to start up and scale up. This part focuses on supporting social businesses and innovation, increasing access to funding and creating linkages between the social economy and the green and digital transitions.
  • Making sure the social economy and its potential are recognised. This part focuses on mapping, collecting and analysing data on the social economy and raising public awareness of the social economy.

The EC has also published its Staff Working Document on the transition pathway on social economy.

For more information please visit the dedicated EC page.