December 16, 2021

New EU Social Economy Action Plan launched: what does it mean for the impact community?

The European Commission adopted its action plan to support the social economy. It is a key enabler for the investing for impact community to achieve a just and green transition in our post-Covid future.


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The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the fundamental role the social and solidarity economy plays in building a more equitable and sustainable society. Social investors, social enterprises and social associations are key players in achieving a just and green transition.

In 2019 the EU Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, was mandated to develop a European Action Plan for Social Economy.

Today, after an intense consultation process with more than 130 contributions, the European Commission presented a new action plan to support the social economy during a launch event gathering social entrepreneurs and representatives from social economy organisations from across Europe - including EVPA - to discuss the new opportunities offered by the Action Plan.

It proposes a set of measures aiming to create the right conditions for the social economy to thrive and fulfil its potential to contribute to fair, sustainable and inclusive growth. The Plan will be a key driver to enhance social investment, and support social economy actors and social enterprises to start-up, scale-up, innovate and create jobs across the European Union.

During the launch event, Nicolas Hazard, the CEO and founder of EVPA member INCO set the scene, highlighting why the social economy brings innovative solutions to economic, social, environmental & democratic challenges. "It is key to work with people and develop an economy that works for people. An economy that is unequal is unsustainable in the long run. Social economy needs to be inclusive."

EU Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit said: "The Social Economy Action Plan gives us guidance, ideas, policies that we have to turn into concrete actions. It's an invitation to action. Finance is key for the development of the social economy sector".

Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for the Internal Market, added: "Member states will have funding to support the just, green and digital transition and the social economy is eligible to apply for this funding. Let us move now to boost Europe’s social economy!"


The role of EVPA

In the past months EVPA has been closely engaged in the development of the Action Plan. We published a position paper outlining a set of recommendations which are now included in the Action Plan:

1. Improve access to financial and non-financial resources and strengthen the capacity to co-invest

2. Boost social innovation

3. Pave the way towards future social taxonomy through Impact Measurement and Management (IMM)

4. Ensure more targeted and consistent communication to improve the visibility and recognition of social economy organisations

5. Make the EU social Economy system a landmark within the global economy

Network organisations, such as EVPA and its sister organisations, are fundamental convenors within the social economy at national, European and global levels.

We will support our community to use the opportunities provided by the Action Plan to develop the social economy ecosystem and enable investors for impact. Our community’s expertise can unlock resources, including tailored funding and non-financial support, as well as strengthen the capacity of private capital providers to co-invest with EU and national financial institutions.

Next year will be implementation time… Stay tuned for more in 2022!

For additional information and to find out more about how the Social Economy Action Plan can impact your work, contact our Senior Policy and EU Partnerships Manager, Bianca Polidoro – bpolidoro@evpa.ngo.

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