The European Commission shows its support to the social economy and the WISE models
17 Dec 2021

The Commission’s Communication Building an economy that works for people: an action plan for the social economy, presented by Commissioner Schmitt on 9 December 2021, lays solid foundations to develop policies and regulations in support of the social economy sector across the EU.

From the DWISE network we commend the Commission’s clear acknowledgement of the value of social economy enterprises across all sectors. More importantly, we welcome the references made to social economy enterprises and their contribution to provide employment and entrepreneurship for disadvantaged social groups, such as persons with disabilities.

We fully support the Action Plan in its affirmations about the role of social economy enterprises building “bridges for persons with disabilities to employment in the open labour market”.

Besides announcing a number of promising initiatives to enable the further expansion of the social economy sector in Europe, the Action Plan also provides with a clear definition of social economy enterprises*; such clarity in the definition will be key for the development of future measures, ensuring that public support targets those companies who truly invest in people or society. 

As a network formed of Disability Work Inclusion Social Enterprises (DWISES), we very much welcome the Commission’s references to work inclusion social enterprises (WISES) as “common type of social enterprise across Europe, specializing in providing work opportunities for disadvantaged people”.

The DWISE network, together with its members, stands ready to support the European Commission in the rolling out of its Action Plan. Now that the value of social economy enterprises is widely acknowledged, it is time to deliver enabling policies and regulations to make sure that access to finance, public support and general awareness contribute to the flourishing of such an important sector.

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*The social economy covers entities sharing the following main common principles and features: the primacy of people as well as social and/or environmental purpose over profit, the reinvestment of most of the profits and surpluses to carry out activities in the interest of members/users (“collective interest”) or society at large (“general interest”) and democratic and/ or participatory governance.

Social Economy Action Plan