Contribute to the European Commission Action Plan for the Social Economy by ensuring that a strong regional and local perspective is included in it, thus taking into account the territorial dimension and local rootedness of the social economy, which is one of its core characteristics.
Refer to the possible involvement of the European Committee of the Regions in future dialogues and cooperation on Social Economy with the European Commission and other relevant stakeholders before and after the adoption of the Action Plan.
Insist on the local and regional contribution in the development of frameworks conducive to the expansion of social economy and social economy ecosystems and raising awareness on the social economy sector at local and regional levels.
Make suggestions on how existing EU measures in support of social economy could be better adapted to local realities and also make proposals to ensure that stakeholders at the local and regional level are better informed on relevant EU policies and support measures related to the Social Economy.
Address the issue of the efficiency in the use of EU funds and make suggestions on how the EU could better support national and regional authorities wishing to use EU funds to the benefit of social economy and social innovations.
Make suggestions on how to respond to the consequences, challenges and opportunities that the COVID-19 pandemic has created for the social economy sector at the local and regional level.
Carry forward the key messages of previous CoR opinions on the important role that local and regional authorities play in reinforcing the Social Economy.
The commitment of the European Commission to consult the CoR regarding the EU Action Plan for the Social Economy proved to be true. Many of the suggestions and ideas of the CoR outlook opinion "an Action Plan for the Social Economy" have been taken into account and the European Commission committed to continue its collaboration with the CoR on this policy area. Notably, the action Action Plan included :
The requested emphasis on the promotion of interregional cooperation for the social economy through the reinforcement of transnational business clusters and partnerships, especially in rural areas, as well as the proposal to encourage the use of Interreg and smart specialisation partnership for the social economy.
The proposal for a single gateway containing all European information and initiatives relating to the social economy to improve the access to information for social economy actors at all levels.
Proposals related to the improvement of measures aiming at boosting of social innovation, skills, an increased access to finance as well as public procurement and a greater availability of data and statistics
Moreover, the rapporteur, M. Mikel Irujo Amezaga was invited to take part to the EU Social Economy Conference of Mannheim, in May 2021, for a roundtable with the OECD, DG EMPL, local and regional authorities, and social economy actors.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- highlights the importance of promoting interregional cooperation on the social economy as a key instrument for creating transnational business clusters, for ensuring cross-border synergies and distinct cooperation involving the outermost regions in their respective forums for cooperation with third countries, and for supporting the internationalisation of social economy enterprises and organisations in the single market;
- calls on the Commission to promote the involvement of local and regional authorities in GECES, together with Member States and social economy networks. Therefore, the Committee calls for a GECES working group to be set up for regional and local social economy policies;
- calls on the Commission to further promote socially responsible public procurement among European public authorities as a key tool to increase transparency in public procurement, to fight corruption, to foster competition and participation in public procurement by business actors of different sizes, and to promote socially responsible business practices, such as those typical of the social economy;
- calls on the Commission to select a European Capital of Social Economy each year, through a democratic and transparent process involving the Committee of the Regions, the EESC and the GECES;
- points out that, through the Pact for Skills, the Commission should support the training and life-long learning access of social economy workers in areas such as digitalisation, including media literacy, participatory leadership, resilience and the green transition, in order to support them to enter or remain in the labour market of social economy enterprises. To achieve this objective, the Committee suggests cooperating with the industrial ecosystem of the social economy, which includes in particular public authorities, vocational training centres and universities;
- recognises the potential of including the social economy in the European Cluster Collaboration Platform to make it easier to build alliances and for these enterprises and organisations to become part of strategic value chains.