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National Social Economy Concept

5 April 2012

Republic of Bulgaria
Ministry of Labour and Social Policy
Directorate "Living Standards, Demographic Development, Policies and Strategies"

 

Summary

4 April 2012

The National Social Economy Concept ("the Concept") is an expression of the political involvement of the Government institutions of Bulgaria for creation of favourable environment for development of social economy models and practices. By applying the Concept it is intended:

  • to raise awareness, relevant aspects of social culture and human values;
  • to advance the Government's vision and priority goal to promote social economy;
  • to express the concentrated will of a wider scope of stake-holders;
  • to provide a platform for development of related policies;
  • to provide incentives for development of new social inclusion approaches;
  • to support inputs into the achievement of „Europe 2020" goals.

Substance and scope of the social economy (SE)

SE is a part of real economy as well as of Civil Society while the result of enterprises is reinvested into financing activities to achieve social goals and only a reasonable part is covering overheads. By its functionality, SE is efficient in achieving social inclusion of disadvantaged strata of the population, thus being distinguished from corporate economy, although SE-subjects operate entities under the trade law.

A red thread in the Concept-document is the link of the SE-idea with social entrepreneurship. The ultimate development objective of the initiative is to make in the years ahead a thorough inventory of all the legal, institutional and financial prerequisites for evolvement of individual endeavors, which in their entirety to build up a nationwide SE-network.

In line with the rest of the economic development SE is transferring European good practices at both - national and transnational levels.

The national SE Concept is a next step of harmonization of national social policies with good practices of European origin.

It is linked to all of the 3 priorities, 4 objectives and 7 leading initiatives of the 13 July 2010 accepted strategy "Europe 2020" and is aimed to turn into practice the provisions of the 27.10.2010 Communication of the Commission "Towards a Single Market Act - For a highly competitive social market economy".

There are national traditions of SE in Bulgaria although under different socio-economic context that might be a constructive prerequisite specifically while launching the present Concept.

SE is expected to provide employment for a group of people, who face difficulties to join regular employment.

The Concept is intended to reveal also career opportunities by social entrepreneurship to persons with disabilities or at least a self-sufficient livelihood.

Streamlining the SE is aimed at promotion of sustainability, economic growth and increasing quality of life, predominantly for the disadvantaged groups.

Vision

The vision of the Government is to establish an operational SE-Sector, contributing to pro-active inclusion of vulnerable groups, flexible and stable employment, developed territorial cohesion.

The objectives of the Concept are:

  1. To enable introduction of indicators for identification of SE-entities;
  2. To serve as a source of norms, supporting SE-development and helping stake-holders to widespread and apply the spirit of social economy.
  3. To be a ground for streamlining legal and administrative environment for development of SE-entities (access to financing, social provisions in public procurement, tax-alleviation, etc.)

Legal Aspects of Social Economy

The legal resource in support of SE entities should include: legal provision; legal samples; legal recognition; statistical recognition; needed legal changes.

European legislation provides a sound support for SE. The relevant acts range from the EU-treaty to various Regulations, Directives and extensive legal documents.

Although not directly addressing SE-entities, the current national legislation is favorable to a high degree to provide fair conditions for establishment, running and protection of social entrepreneurship in various legal and economic forms. The application of the present Concept is expected to identify possible legislation and institutional gaps and provide a basis for legal proposals.

The text of the Concept is largely borrowing samples of legal provisions, already enforced in Spain, the UK, Poland, Belgium, Finland. Numerous proven political and administrative solutions have been introduced into the text as well.

The successful application of the Concept depends to a significant extend on the role of the Government for the legal recognition of SE-entities under the valid national legislation. A major task of the Government is to support SE-entities to settle with the benefits that the current laws provide. In cooperation with the SE-entities, the Government shall target its efforts at promotion of SE along with the positions on the issue of the European Parliament (e.g. A6-0015/2009; EC Comm. 608/2010 - proposals 36 &37).

Statistical recognition of SE is crucial for political decision-making. The present Concept is aimed at development of national approaches in line with the EP Decision A6-0015/2009 & UN paper on NGOs on establishing satellite statistical accounts on SE.

A national legal and institutional upgrade is intended by the Bulgarian Government following profound study of the impact of the Concept in the course of the launch and in the phase of application. Twofold monitoring of legal aptitude is to be pursued:

  1. identification of immediate necessities of legal adaptation;
  2. phased comprehensive legal adjustment.

The material aspect of SE is tightly related to self-sufficient entrepreneurship by mobilizing own material resources. State involvement cannot be different as in the case to the rest of the private economy, however it shall permanently eye the SE network by creating legal and institutional prerequisites to help SE to overcome temporary and long-term obstacles for development and maintaining partnership for social inclusion.

Political aspects

The Government shall promote the SE-network inter alia by applying provisions of EC Regulation #800/2008 and similar instruments. Further, state programs for vocational qualification, employment and environment protection shall be shaped to allow access of SE-entities either as beneficiaries or implementation partners.

Local authorities shall be supported in promoting SE through the national institutional frameworks of executive agencies.

Bulgaria's social dialog traditions and experience are a prerequisite to join SE-entities to the ongoing tripartite cooperation.

The Government shall promote education in social entrepreneurship to intensify the process by educated human resources.

Organization for application of the Concept

The target group of the Concept are SE-subjects, who employ quite various organization and legal status. However, the Government could interact with entities, established and run according to the law. The state is intended to share human, institutional and financial resources to help informal groups to join the SE-network.

A key provision of the Concept is the adoption of a set of indicators for identification of SE-entities. EP-indicators shall constitute the core of set of national indicators.

The SE-Mark shall be a state-run initiative aiming a triple effect - 1/filtering out the essence of SE- entities, capable to promote SE-model; 2/ promotion of solidarity between SE-entities; 3/ promotion of public solidarity with the SE.

Planning and implementation

The Concept is a national programming document. The practical application of the Concept shall rest on collaboration between SE-entities and the authorities, both central and local.

The Directorate "Living Standards, Demographic Development, Policies and Strategies" under the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy shall administer the application of the Concept. The Directorate is in charge of applying the Concept on the basis of annual action-plans designed by a National Consultative Social Economy Council. Further, the Directorate shall maintain a National Catalogue of SE-entities. General policies concerning the implementation of the Concept shall be the subject matter of the National Consultative Social Economy Council. The Council shall be appointed by the Minister for Labour and Social Policy and shall adopt its Rule of Proceedings. Entries in the National Catalogue of SE-entities shall be executed by the MLSP- Directorate pursuant to relevant decisions of the National Council.

Ministry's Directorate shall act as the Secretariat of the Council.

Measures of the Action Plans shall be financed either by the administrative budget of the Ministry and/or programming incl. external support - e.g. EU-funds.

To promote public awareness and a means for immediate interaction between SE-entities, related institutions and public society, the MLSP- Directorate shall maintain a website (seconomy.mlsp.government.bg).

The Concept is subject of ongoing amendments and supplements in order to keep the pace of the developments. The Concept amendments are subject of decisions of the National Consultative Social Economy Council.

doc.gifThe National Social Economy Concept (full version in Bulgarian).doc (361.5 KB)

pdf.gifNATIONAL_SOCIAL_ECONOMY_CONCEPT.pdf (564.1 KB)