Building an economy that works for people: an action plan for the social economy

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions

December 2021

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Summary :

Every day some 2.8 million social economy entities in Europe1 offer concrete and innovative solutions to key challenges we are facing. They create and retain quality jobs, contribute to social and labour-market inclusion of disadvantaged groups and equal opportunities for all, drive sustainable economic and industrial development, promote the active participation of citizens in our societies, play an important role in Europe’s welfare systems, and revitalise Europe’s rural and depopulated areas.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, many social economy entities have been at the forefront of the crisis. They have produced face masks, supported digital online education, assisted people in need and provided proximity help in local communities.

Parts of the social economy contrib-ute to the green and digital tran-sitions by supplying sustainable goods and services and bridging the digital divide. Their participa- tory business models, that take into account the needs of citizens, employees and other stakeholders, help to ensure that the transitions are fair.

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