Thank you for your kind invitation and for the opportunity to share with you my thoughts about the importance of social enterprises and the social economy for the successful development of the EU economic model.
I have argued in various occasions that the social economy and social entrepreneurship are inherently linked to the model of the social-market economy wish to thank you for that.
Already today, the two million social enterprises in the EU form a strong European social economy sector that accounts for some 10% of all European businesses and employs over 11 million paid employees — which is equivalent to 6% of the EU’s working population.
I cannot over-emphasise the importance of the job-creating potential of social enterprises at the current juncture when Europe is hit with record-high and still increasing unemployment.
Turning around the adverse macroeconomic environment in the most affected countries to make it more conducive to job creation will take time. But time we do not have. Because the damage to the social fabric in those countries may have long-lasting negative effects and affect even their growth and development potential when good times return.
That is why it is crucial to tap all sources of job creation; and especially those which offer jobs that are sustainable and of high quality.