European social economy and public procurement

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The European Economic and Social Council (EESC) presented a report on develoments in the social economy sector on the continent.

One of the issues presented in the report regards legal changes that allowed public institutions to use procurement of goods and services to support the fight against social exclusion.

„Recent Evolutions in Social Economy” presents the theoretical framework of the social economy sector, as well as public policies influeincing ist develepoment which were passed in th 2010-2016 period both at the EU and member state level.

Legal changes

The report notes the changes in the EU directives which allowed to shift the focus of public tenders from the lowest cost of the offer to allowing the usage of social criteria (which can promote social economy initiatives).

Although the changes were initied in 2014 the authors take note in the fact that in 2016 – two years after they were passed on the European level – only 10 member state implemented them to their national legal systems.

They also ie. note the institutional bariers that public institutions state as reasons for their insufficient usage of social clauses in promoting the development of social economy sector (like in the United Kingdom or in Finland).

The readers will also be informed about initiatives trying to remedy this problem – like in France where public institution offering high-value tenders need to preare a plan of ways of promoting employment of people with disabilities.

Negative trends

EESC gathered some pessimistic data. Althoug social economy enterprises generated 6.3% of total EU employment in the 2013-2014 period, at the same time in Poland it was only 2.3%.

What is even more disturbing is the fact that in the 2010-2015 period the level of employment in foundations and associations in the country fell by 32.2%, while in the co-operative sector – by 41.2%. The UE averege for the period is -2.2 and -7.8%, respectively.

More information can be found in the full version of the EECS report