Europe Day – 9th of May 2023
Groupe SOS, one of EU’s key frontrunners of social entrepreneurship, is actively involved in local initiatives and European projects aimed at boosting social economy. On this 9th of May, symbolically commemorating Robert Schuman’s Declaration which laid the groundwork for the European Union’s construction, Groupe SOS wishes to reaffirm its engagement for a more ambitious EU social policy.
Social economy, an essential component of the European project
Groupe SOS is convinced that social economy must be placed at the heart of the European project. At a time when many citizens’ movements are claiming for a fairer, greener and more social society, we believe that social entrepreneurship will be key in meeting the social and ecological challenges the EU is facing.
In fact, the difficulties we face in France are similar to the ones of our European neighbors, be it regarding the fight against inequalities, the adaptation to climate change, the education and training of the youth and unemployed people or, more recently, the growing necessity to bridge the digital divide. With almost 40 years of experience, Groupe SOS confidently assures that by cooperating with their European counterparts and engaging in a common effort to bring their strengths and expertise together, actors of the social economy can successfully tackle the EU’s current major challenges.
Let’s make the EU the world’s epicenter of social economy!
Beyond its daily work on the field, operated by its 700 associations and organisations, Groupe SOS has been vocal on the political scene to defend its vision of a stronger European social economy. In October 2022, Groupe SOS wrote an article calling for an ambitious European policy aiming at making Europe the world epicenter of the social and solidarity economy (article in French or in German). This article was supported and co-signed by 33 European organisations from 16 European Member States, and puts forward three levers to accelerate and amplify the development of social economy in Europe:
“Groupe SOS [urges to] make Europe the global epicenter of social economy. This goal can only be achieved by conducting a number of improvements: firstly, the status of the social economy must officially be recognised by European and international institutions; secondly, ambitious financing tools which consider the specificities of social economy enterprises must be developed; finally, integration schemes must be generalised in the 27 EU Member States”. Jean-Marc Borello – Chairman of Groupe SOS Executive Board.
Groupe SOS will continue to defend its vision of a European Union that works for the most vulnerable populations, for future generations as well as for the sustainability and liveliness of our common territories! Such a EU social policy would meet Groupe SOS’ main purpose, which is to combat all forms of exclusion, whether it is about decently welcoming refugees, taking better care of people with disabilities or implementing cultural activities for and by all.
Directly stemming from its successful initiatives, like educational projects countering social and gender inequalities or solutions supporting the socio-professional integration of the youth through social entrepreneurship, Groupe SOS will make concrete proposals to the European Commission in the upcoming years.
A promising European and international context for the development of social economy
On 18 April 2023, during its plenary meeting, the UN adopted a resolution “Promoting the Social and Solidarity Economy for Sustainable Development”. Groupe SOS warmly welcomes this resolution, for which it actively participated by chairing the permanent Secretariat of the Pact for Impact Alliance. This text comes two years after the publishing by the European Commission of its Social Economy Action Plan, issued at the end of 2021, which aims to stimulate the social economy and generate jobs in this sector.
Last week, between the 1st and the 6th of May 2023, the sixth edition of the Global Social Economy Forum (GSEF) was held in Dakar. This event came as the appropriate time for Groupe SOS to communicate on its latest undertaking: to make the social economy a pillar of the partnership between the African and European continents.
In this renewed European and international context, and on Europe Day, Groupe SOS reasserts its willingness to further contribute to developing social economy in the world. Determined to make social economy the future of our continent, it will continue to act on the field to offer innovative solutions taking up the EU’s social and environmental challenges.
Focus: Groupe SOS, a European-minded actor
Since 2015, Groupe SOS has positioned itself as a proactive European actor and has participated in more than forty different innovative European projects, with over 85 organisations from 19 EU Member States.
In addition to its on-field activities within Member States, Groupe SOS is conducting advocacy towards EU institutions. On 31 May 2022, it organised an event, which gathered around a hundred of participants among which important stakeholders of the European social economy such as the European Network of Social Integration Enterprises (ENSIE), the OECD’s Social Economy and Innovation Unit, the Franco-German Youth Office (OFAJ) and France’s former Minister of European Affairs, Mr. Clément Beaune. During this high-quality event, Groupe SOS publicly supported the EU’s Social Economy Action Plan and put forward a series of concrete recommendations for its efficient implementation, like the creation of a funding program dedicated to financing impactful social entrepreneurial projects, especially during their launching phase.
Groupe SOS has also greatly seized the momentum of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union between January 2022 and the 30th of June 2022 to promote five of its initiatives aimed at developing social entrepreneurship: