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22 November 2011

EU 2020 banks on social business

On 18 November, addressing a conference on social entrepreneurship, Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier developped regulatory aspects of his Social Business Initiative which proposes to promote a highly competitive social market economy, within the 'Europe 2020' strategy.
The social economy — cooperatives, foundations, associations or mutual societies — employs more than 11 million people in the EU, accounting for 6% of total employment. Social enterprises have been identified as a priority for funding under the EU's regional policy. About €90 million has been earmarked for a new social investment instrument to support debt and equity investments in 2014-2020. The Commission is set to propose a European regulatory framework for social investment funds before the end of 2011 to facilitate access to financial markets for social enterprises, seen as one of the major obstacles to boost the sector. Cutting red tape, especially on public procurement, will be an essential component of the plan. Very good article on Euractiv.
The simplification drive seems ever more necessary: the Commission Work Programme for 2012, presented last week, lists 129 EU laws and assorted non-binding strategy papers and recommendations to be developped in that year, including an Annual Growth Strategy, measures to put an end to tax havens and a "quick reaction mechanism" against VAT fraud, as well as laws to end fiddles in the disbursement of EU funds.

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