As the days get shorter and 2023 continues to wind to an end, it does not hurt to reflect on some of the major accomplishments that seem to, like buses, all have arrived at once.
The Council of the European Union has just adopted a Recommendation from the European Commission on improving framework conditions for the social economy. This is a major achievement with this being the first recommendation of its kind.
This Council Recommendation encourages the EU’s Member States to develop and adopt national strategies to support the social economy. This includes looking at legal, taxation, regulatory and funding frameworks with the view to improve the conditions in which the social economy operates. Member States have 24 months to bring forward these strategies and national intermediaries organisations such as networks will be key for ensuring the development of the best strategies possible. Get in touch with those who are or will be responsible for developing your national strategy – this is the time to have your voice heard on your national strategy!
The European Commission and European Parliament appear to have reached a common position on the European Cross Border Association (ECBA) Status with the ball now being in the court of the Member States in the European Council. The ECBA is the proposal for a Directive to introduce a new legal form in EU Member States for associations that operate across borders. This new form of association will be able to register in one Member State but operate across the whole of the EU, removing issues of cross-border operation, mergers, movement of seat and assets. This is an ambitious proposal, conferring the opportunity also for EU Citizens no matter their nationality to be a founding member of an association and even for non-EU Citizens who are legally resident in the EU to also be a founding member. With the upcoming European Parliament Elections in 2024 and the following Hungarian Presidency of the European Council, it may be some time before the possibility for associations to become ECBAs is a reality. This development of the ECBA of course is just the beginning and is already provoking calls for similar progress to be made towards a European status for foundations and other types of organisations who face barriers in accessing the single market.
The Spanish Presidency of the European Council has seen these two major developments come to the fore. This momentum is also expressed in the San Sebastian Manifesto, signed in San Sebastian in November 2023 highlighting the commitment of ministers and stakeholders across the EU to support a just green and digital transition. The baton has now been handed to the forthcoming Belgian Presidency of the European Council who will be holding an event on the social economy in Liège on the 12th and 13th February 2024. Find out more here.