On Thursday, June 18th, we represented our network at the latest meeting of Commission Expert Group on the Social Economy and Social Enterprises (GECES).
EN joined GECES in 2018 and ever since we’ve zealously contributed our expertise, allowing the collective voices of our members to be heard at the highest policy-making levels. We are pleased to see that the European Commission (EC) has welcomed our input on the impact of COVID-19 on the social enterprise sector and took note of our recommendations for the European Action Plan for Social Economy (2021 – 2026).
The Action Plan will be the key tool to systematically incorporate the social economy into the socio-economic policies of the European Union, as well as its actions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the post-coronavirus economy.
Social Enterprises are Essential for Sustainable Development
Global trade, investment, and business activity are the most powerful drivers towards a green and inclusive economy. Social enterprises that trade for or with a social or environmental purpose, offer a business model to help achieve our shared objective for more equitable and sustainable development.
Right now, social enterprises are directly contributing to cushion the impact of the COVID-19 crisis by providing social services, employment for vulnerable groups, provision of first-aid, digital schooling, funding for innovative quick response solutions, etc. The speed at which social enterprises have been able to alter their business models in response to the pandemic is truly remarkable.
Our Recommendations to Support Social Enterprises
To help social enterprises recover and increase their participation at the EU level, Euclid Network and our members called on the European Commission to support the sector, among others, by:
- Providing a financial recovery scheme appropriate to the recovery cycle time for the sector that does not also drain it of its capability to expand post-recovery;
- Ensuring that funds already allocated to finance social enterprises are not suspended, and introduce flexibility and patience in investments and loans already issued;
- Leveraging philanthropy, individual giving and draw in corporate philanthropy to the social enterprise response;
- Promoting socially responsible public procurement in Europe though:
- Binding social and environmental clauses in 100% of EU tenders and public contracts;
- Encourage Member States to include binding social and environmental clauses in all their public contracts.
- Ensuring visibility of social enterprises amongst the general public, governments, and corporations;
- Investing and educating in impact measurement for social enterprises to better demonstrate their positive effect on the economy and society.
What will be the post-COVID-19 roadmap?
We envision a world in which the social and solidarity economy is the standard, rather than the exception. Only in this manner will we achieve a more inclusive and sustainable economy.
The policy decision that governments make now, will determine what our post-COVID-19 economy will look like. Moving forward towards the next phase of the crisis, governments of many countries have a unique opportunity to create a green and inclusive recovery that they must seize! To do this, stimulus packages need to be aligned with ambitious policies to tackle climate change and social exclusion. Only using this approach can we deliver a winning policy for people, planet, and prosperity.
GECES is a group of experts that are tasked with assisting the EC to examine the progress of measures envisaged in the Commission’s Start-up and Scale-up Initiative. The group provides advice to elaborate and implement policy measures that strengthen the social economy and social enterprise ecosystem in European Union (EU) Member States and beyond. The group also seeks to raise awareness at the national level regarding EU-level actions, and the exchange of best practices.
“People care about the future of our children and our society, and about fairness and equality in every sense of the word.”
– European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen
What’s an expert group?
The European Commission can set up an expert group when it needs specialist advice from outside experts (like Euclid Network) as a basis for sound policymaking. This consultative body is set up by the Commission is composed of 40 experts from the private sector (check all members here), 40 experts from the public sector, and observers from organisations such as the OECD and the UN.
If you would like to find out more about EN’s work with GECES and how you contribute, please contact the Euclid Team for more information.