The Malta Independent 13 November 2019, Wednesday

Social Economy important for fostering social inclusion, employment generation, economic growth

Saturday, 2 July 2016, 09:29 Last update: about 4 years ago

The Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Business, Chris Cardona yesterday delivered the concluding speech at a conference organized by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) entitled “From words to action!” held in Brussels to mark the First European day of Social Economy Enterprises.

The conference was addressed by a number of speakers including three social entrepreneurs: Mr Bashkim Fazliu, from Okus Doma in Croatia, Ms Anna Fiscale, from Progetto Quid in Italy and Mr Paolo Ferraresi, from RREUSE in Belgium who spoke about the many benefits social enterprises bring to society. In their presentations they showed in practice the fusion of the Social Economy with Social Inclusion and Circular Economy projects that both promote sustainability and involve disadvantaged people.

In his concluding speech Minister Cardona said that he is delighted that Social Economy Enterprises are on the agenda of Brussels since their potential is huge. Minister Cardona said that thinking outside the box is instrumental in finding innovative solutions to further strengthen the social economy. “In order to sustain the social economy, we, as policy makers, need to promote a pluralist economy, built on a market-based system that is happy to embrace different economic models” said Minister Cardona.

Minister Cardona highlighted the importance of the Social Economy for fostering social inclusion, employment generation and economic growth. 

Yesterday also marked the first day of the Slovak Presidency of the European Union which will come to an end at the end of this year, following which, as of 1st January 2017, Malta will be taking over the Presidency of the European Union. On the subject, Minister Cardona congratulated his Slovak counterpart and said that Malta was looking forward to taking on its Presidency responsibilities in six month’s time.

Minister Cardona said that the strategy of the Trio partnership is based on the real life concerns of European people and the business community, particularly start-ups, social enterprises and small and medium sized enterprises.

“Social enterprises and SMEs are the backbone of the European economy. They create jobs and spur growth and account for 98% of business activity across Europe,” reiterated Minister Cardona. According to Minister Cardona, the challenge is to have more start-ups, driven by a new dose of entrepreneurial spirit and incentives and strategies need to be put in place to ensure their survival.

“As European policy makers, we must address the issue of businesses remaining in Europe. The conditions have to be in place for start-ups to continue operating in Europe instead of migrating to other advanced economies,” emphasized Minister Cardona.

Currently, there are 2 million social economy enterprises in Europe, representing 10% of all businesses in the EU. More than 11 million people – or 6% of the EU’s employees – work for social economy enterprises.

In conclusion Minister Cardona said that the Maltese Presidency looks forward to engaging with the EESC, the European Parliament’s Social Economy Intergroup and the European Commission to address the challenges being faced by the social economy. 

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