Promoting the social economy as a driver for inclusive growth and social progress

“We need a new plan for Europe to promote social justice” stated Nicolas Schmit, Luxemburgish Minister for Employment and Economic Solidarity at the European Round Table “Together for Social Europe: Ensuring social progress” organised by SOLIDAR in Rome on 28 February 2014.

Pervenche Berès, Chair of the European Parliament’s Employment and Social Affairs Committee, added “The Troika is a tool to kill the European social model. We need to invest in Europe's social dimension!”. Among more than 40 participants at the roundtable were SOLIDAR members Arbeiterwohlfahrt Germany and Auser Italy as well as partner organisations such as CREA Italy.

In times of growing social disparities, an increasing number of people excluded from society and the discussion about distributive justice of public means, the provision of qualitative, comprehensive and affordable social services becomes increasingly challenging.
Social economy actors can provide these services based on an alternative economic model without exclusively looking for maximisation of profit and reduction of costs at any price.

SOLIDAR publishes today a framework paper, first presented at the European Round Table, which highlights SOLIDAR’s and our members’ common perspective on the social economy, outlining our stand against the commercialisation of the social sector. Social economy actors are a pillar of our democratic society; they promote the quality of living together, ensure the peaceful environment of our social system and improve the lives of many people.

Social economy actors constantly develop socially innovative approaches for a sustainable, inclusive and democratic alternative “business model” as innovation is in our DNA. They concentrate their economic activity on the achievement of social and sustainable goals, value individual and collective skills, competences and knowledge and often emerge from local dynamics and needs.

SOLIDAR calls at decision-makers at EU level, in particular the European Commission:

•to fully recognise the social economy’s potential;
•to set-up a level playing field for the social economy sector;
•to create conditions under which the economy serves the society and the common interest instead of undermining it.

Strengthening the social economy is our contribution to smart, sustainable and inclusive development of Europe as stipulated in the Europe 2020 agenda.

As concluded at the Round Table in Rome: an EU policy change is needed with regards to the Troika, social dumping, internal market, financial sector and the social economy to put an end to the social crisis.