Dear European Commission and European Council,
As we all know, we are facing one of the biggest crisis situations that the world has had to face since the World Wars. The COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on all of us, on those directly affected by the Coronavirus as well as on those confined at home. During this crisis, the 2.8 million social economy enterprises in Europe, businesses which trade for a social or environmental purpose, continue to take the responsibility to provide the services that keep our society running*.
In this period of uncertainty, we would like to support you, as a network for social enterprises, and inform you about the main priorities of these organisations. We have a firm believe that our ambitions are shared by the European Institutions and that together we can lead our sector through and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
The prioritization of global well-being and common interest before monetary profit is the key to stabilizing the current situation and coming out of this crisis stronger. Now more than ever, it is highlighted that social enterprises play a crucial role in our economy and society. Social enterprises focus on the most vulnerable populations which are the first to be hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the overall economic slowdown social enterprises are at risk, and so are those depending on them.
Therefore, building on the statement of our European partner ENSIE, Euclid Network, the European Network representing social enterprises, presents you our top 7 priorities to help social enterprises to continue to be able to carry out their crucial work.
- Ensure that funds already allocated to finance social enterprises are not suspended, and introduce flexibility and patience in investments and loans already placed;
- Provide guarantees on bank loans for social enterprises and provide them interest discounts;
- Introduce flexibility in State Aid: allowing higher thresholds for the ‘disadvantaged worker and severely disadvantaged worker’ aids for employment and for the ‘de minimis’;
- Encourage socially responsible public procurement by the European institutions as well as the Member States;
- Encourage Member States to address social enterprises with the funds from the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative;
- Encourage Members States to develop a Fiscal Framework Flexibility for the suspension of payments of corporate and value added taxes and social contributions;
- Encourage Member States to include social enterprises in all mainstream emergency measures and going forward in economic recovery packages.
Through these hard times Euclid Network with its members are at your disposal for consultation, to provide you with advice or share good practices from across countries in order to support the sector.
We want to thank you for your attention to these points. Your stance and vision are crucial to the health of the European social enterprise sector, enabling improved impact of sustainable solutions to global challenges. We stand ready to work alongside you to further advance these priorities.
Euclid Network & Members
*Social enterprises are stepping up to provide community care to those most severely affected by the coronavirus. For instance, social enterprises are unburdening the public health care systems, developing innovative ways to provide essentials such as mouth masks. Moreover, social enterprises are sharing their digital tools allowing pupils to continue their education.
For an overview of concrete ways in which social enterprises are providing support check out the Social Economy Community platform of the European Commission: https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/fpfis/wikis/display/SEC/Social+economy+in+the+fight+against +Corona
The members of Euclid Network are frontrunners in shaping the European ecosystem for social impact. EN celebrates the diversity of all actors involved in the European social enterprise ecosystem and federates social enterprise and civil society networks, incubators, universities, knowledge platforms and social investors.
If you would like to find out more about the European Union’s policy on social enterprise or comment on our position, please get in touch with the EN team!