Sven Giegold

Gemeinwohlökonomie: Gemeinsamer Brief mit Spanien zur Stärkung der gemeinwohlorientierten Wirtschaft in Europa

Liebe Freundinnen und Freunde, liebe Interessierte,

im Koalitionsvertrag haben wir uns als Bundesregierung zu einer Stärkung der gemeinwohlorientierten, sozialen und solidarischen Wirtschaft bekannt. Gleichzeitig hat die EU-Kommission mit ihrem Aktionsplan für Social Economy wichtige Eckpunkte hierzu vorgelegt. Doch noch fehlen hier wichtige Maßnahmen, um die solidarische und soziale Ökonomie europaweit und grenzüberschreitend zu stärken.

Gemeinsam mit meinem spanischen Staatssekretärskollegen Joaquín Pérez Rey habe ich deshalb einen Brief an den zuständigen EU-Kommissar Schmit geschickt, in dem wir insbesondere zwei Punkte ansprechen (Brief unten und hier):

  1. Gemeinwohlorientierte Vereine und Stiftungen brauchen eine europäische Rechtsform! Viel zu oft wird grenzüberschreitende Zusammenarbeit durch Unterschiede in den nationalen Rechtsformen verhindert. Europäische Vereine und Europäische Stiftungen könnten hier schnell Abhilfe verschaffen.
  2. Öffentliche Unterstützung für die soziale und solidarische Ökonomie sollte erleichtert werden! Bisher erschweren die EU-Beihilferegeln eine unbürokratische Unterstützung der gemeinwohlorientierten Wirtschaft. Hier sollte die Kommission eine Änderung vorschlagen. Gemeinwohl muss Vorrang vor Einzelinteressen haben.

In der zweiten Jahreshälfte 2023 wird Spanien die EU-Ratspräsidentschaft übernehmen. Ich freue mich sehr, dass die spanische Regierung schon angekündigt hat, auf die Stärkung der europäischen, sozialen und solidarischen Wirtschaft einen Fokus ihrer Präsidentschaft zu legen. So können wir gemeinsam die gemeinwohlorientierte Wirtschaft in Europa große Schritte voranbringen.

Mit entschlossenen, gemeinwohlorientierten Grüßen,

Ihr und Euer Sven Giegold

Unser gemeinsamer Brief an EU-Kommissar Schmit

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Dear Commissioner Schmit, dear Nicolas,

We very much welcome the Action Plan presented by the European Commission to boost the social economy. It coincides with the increasing focus of Spain and Germany on this matter and, in this sense, Spain will focus on this subject during its Presidency of the European Council in 2023.

In this context, the recent adoption in Spain of a specific PERTE (Strategic Project for Recovery and Transformation) on Social Economy and Care is fully consistent with the objectives set by the Action Plan. The PERTE will also create the conditions needed to promote the social economy, to reinforce cooperation mechanisms and to implement legal reforms that will dynamize this sector towards intelligent, fair and sustainable development and competitiveness.

On the other hand, given the current challenges, the German Federal Government aims to transform its economy to create a socio-ecological market economy. In its coalition agreement, the government therefore included the objective of strengthening and supporting social economic activity, such as for cooperatives, social enterprises and social integration companies, by improving the legal environment and also by creating specific legal structures.

The social economy not only plays a central role in the fundamental transformation of the entire economy of the EU area towards creating social and ecological sustainability, it is also crucial in order to be able to react to the current crisis which was triggered by Russia’s war of aggression on Ukraine in violation of international law. We therefore eagerly await the design of the more than 60 planned initiatives on such a broad variety of topics as common standards for measuring the impact of companies focusing on the social economy, the creation of labels and greater social recognition of the importance of the social economy.

Platforms such as the planned Social Economy Gateway will certainly help companies and other actors that act for the common good to obtain information on support and networking opportunities. The Recommendation planned by the Council will provide useful ways for the Member States to take action. However, we will need more concrete initiatives at EU level if the social economy is to fully unfold its potential for the transformation of our economies and in order to address major societal challenges:

  • Most major societal challenges do not end at borders and must be addressed multinationally. It is therefore key that social economy actors can act together across borders. We will need uniform legal structures for non-profit actors such as registered associations and foundations across the EU in order to facilitate necessary cooperation and the flow of donations in accordance with the requirements of the ECJ. In addition, we need to make it much easier to examine and recognise non-profit decisions made by actors from other Member States. We therefore call on the EU Commission to submit proposals for a European legal form for registered associations and foundations
  • Companies that focus on the common good still have difficulties to access funding; the result is that their growth and therefore the expansion of their impact is massively impaired. We would therefore welcome it if the State aid framework could be adjusted such that it would enable a simplified injection of funding by the public sector in companies that serve the interests of society.

As expressed, Spain will hold the Presidency of the EU Council in the second half of 2023. One of its main objectives will be to promote the approval of a Council Recommendation on social economy, which should be the basis of a much-needed common legal EU framework for the entities of the social economy that will enhance their potential as agents of change and contribute to preserve the European social model.

On the other hand, the organization during the Spanish Presidency of a high-level meeting on social economy will allow Member States to share good practices in the implementation of the Action Plan.

We think that against this background, a swift implementation of the initiatives announced by the European Commission to remove these legal obstacles and barriers to financing would be very welcome. In addition, we call on the Commission to present proposals for a European legal structure for registered associations and foundations.

We would greatly welcome an opportunity to discuss this in detail.

Sincerely yours

Joaquín Pérez Rey (State Secretary Joaquín Pérez Rey, Ministry of Labour and Social Economy)

Sven Giegold (State Secretary Sven Giegold, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action)

Rubrik: BMWK

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