Rome 17-18 Dec 14

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Unlocking the potential of the social economy for EU growth - 17-18 November, Rome

Report by Ariane Rodert's in EESC newsletter Jan 15

The EESC’s commitment to the Social Economy agenda was highlighted during Italian Presidency Conference “Unlocking the potential of the social economy for EU growth” held on November 17-18 in Rome. The Italian Presidency set itself the ambitious and urgent goal of defining the course and objectives European policy should strive to achieve regarding the Social Economy. More than 170 speakers ranging from academics, social economy operators, policy-makers and representatives of public institutions from 25 European countries gathered in themed working groups to discuss the challenges and opportunities the Social Economy sector presently face. The working groups collected the participants’ suggestions and contributions to be included in the final conference document – the Rome Strategy. The Rome Strategy defines the course of action and objectives the European policy should strive to achieve regarding the Social Economy.

The EESC’s valuable work and expertise was highlighted throughout the conference and the workshops. Group III President Luca Jahier’s keynote address highlighted the trajectory from the Strasbourg Declaration to the Rome Strategy and one of the intermediary phases has been the Social Enterprises Project Report of the EESC. Mr Jahier stressed the need to support the Social Economy sector to unleash its full potential by connecting social economy and social innovation better through partnerships and to be brave to innovate with social initiatives.

The result of the conference, the Rome Strategy, contains the message that the Social Economy world wants to convey to European institutions: the need to recognise the significant role the Social Economy plays for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The Italian Minister of Labour and Social Policy, Giuliano Poletti, whose speech concluded the conference, officially committed to disseminating the Rome Strategy at the National and European level and will present the strategy to the Council in December. Further there is a letter signed jointly by the three labour ministers of Italy, Latvia and Luxembourg to Mr Juncker, supporting the adoption of the Rome Strategy by the EU Commission.

The EESC continues to play a central role in promoting the Social Economy through the work in the Social Economy Category Group and the recently approved continuation of the Social Enterprise Project until October 2015. Key is now to ensure that the EU Institutional agenda continue to support Social Economy and to not lose momentum at this critical time.


See also: Rome Strategy highlights