Social Economy

SOLIDAR calls for the full recognition and promotion of the social economy as an alternative economic and an essential pillar of the European social model. Its actors play an important role in maintaining social services and in overcoming economic and social crises; in recent years 3.5 million new jobs have been created in the social economy. The social economy accounts for 10-12% of the European economy and its actors constitute an important economic force, stimulating innovation by pointing out existing deficiencies and inconvenient truths. By their nature and by the work they do, they contribute to establishing a more cohesive, democratic and active society, and often with favourable working conditions.

The social economy is made up of organisations - cooperatives, mutual societies, associations, foundations - whose economic activity stems from their primary goal to achieve social or societal objectives of general interest rather than generating profit for their owners, members and stakeholders.

Social enterprises are managed in an accountable, transparent and democratic way, in particular by involving workers, end-users and stakeholders affected by its economic activity in its decision making. Social economy actors bear a social responsibility for the well-being and inclusion of significant numbers of people. They are close to the people and aware of their needs, worries and hopes. Social economy actors involve volunteers in various sectors and therefore contribute to our democratic society.

The potential of the social economy must be fully recognised by decision makers at EU level, in particular the European Commission. We need a level playing field and have to raise more awareness of the social economy sector and create conditions under which the economy serves society and the common good instead of undermining it.

SOLIDAR calls on policy makers to recognise and promote the role of not-for-profit social service providers in providing social and health services, in creating employment opportunities as well as in strengthening social cohesion by providing the necessary legal and financial conditions. In order to properly use the job potential of the not-for-profit sector, the EU should support more ambitiously the creation of sustainable quality employment and decent work conditions that would attract people to enter the sector.

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