On 9 December 2021, the European Commission adopted a new action plan on the social economy. With the action plan, the Commission  put forward concrete measures to help mobilise the full potential of the social economy, building on the results of the 2011 Social Business Initiative and the 2016 Start-up and Scale-up Initiative.

Despite the progress made under the previous initiatives, needs persist in several areas. Improving the right framework conditions for the social economy across Europe, including improved visibility and recognition and access to finance and markets are key aspects of the action plan.

The Covid-19 pandemic made the case for a switch to a fair, sustainable and resilient economic model even stronger than before. The aim of the action plan is to enhance social investment, support social economy actors and social enterprises to start-up, scale-up, innovate and create jobs. It will do this through a series of initiatives in the following three areas:

  • creating the right framework conditions for the social economy to thrive
  • opening up opportunities and support to capacity building
  • enhancing recognition of the social economy and its potential

The action plan announces a number of key actions to support social economy, for example:

  • a Council Recommendation on developing social economy framework conditions
  • a new EU Social Economy Gateway to provide a clear entry point for social economy stakeholders, other relevant actors and individuals seeking information on relevant EU funding, policies and initiatives
  • a new European Competence Centre for Social Innovation

Access to funding was highlighted as a challenge for social economy organisations in the context of the SBI, and 10 years later it remains a challenge. Improving access to finance is therefore an important area of work under the Social economy action plan.

The publication of the action plan was preceded by extensive dialogue with citizens and stakeholders. In addition, the Commission has been building the evidence-base for the initiative through several studies, such as the Study on the Impact of the SBI and its follow-up actions and mapping exercises

The action plan was accompanied by two staff working documents:

  1.  The first provides an analysis of challenges and opportunities for the social economy in Europe and a summary of the consultations conducted and evidence gathered since the action plan was announced at the beginning of 2021.
  2. The second, Scenarios towards co-creation of a transition pathway for a more resilient, sustainable and digital Proximity and Social Economy industrial ecosystem, outlines scenarios for the digital and green transition of the industrial ecosystem. It also indicates what actions and joint commitments are needed to accompany this transition.

The action plan also presents funding opportunities available to support the social economy.

Originally posted 2021-12-10 21:43:22.

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Ο Ιωάννης Νασιούλας είναι Διδάκτωρ Κοινωνιολογίας, Εμπειρογνώμων της Ευρωπαϊκής Επιτροπής και Διευθυντής του Ινστιτούτου Κοινωνικής Οικονομίας. Είναι Επικεφαλής της Δημοτικής Παράταξης "Νέα Αρχή για την Θεσσαλονίκη", Δημοτικός Σύμβουλος και Υποψήφιος Δήμαρχος του Δήμου Θεσσαλονίκης.