Every two months (4 times per year), the European Parliament's Social Economy intergroup holds a public hearing on a particular issue. The next meeting theme is: "Public procurements, boosting partenerships between social economy and public authorities".
Created in 2014 after the European elections, the European Parliament intergroups are bringing together volontary MEPs from various political parties and of diverse nationalities, on a specific issue. The association representing social economy enterprises in Europe, Social Economy Europe, is in charge of the intergroup's secretary (list of members can be found here). The last meeting was held on January 12 of 2016, and was about the creation of quality jobs in social economy. Those public hearings attract citizens, experts and organizations concerned to attend or participate to the debates on the development of SSE in Europe.
The theme for the upcoming meeting, "public procurements", recently drew the European Institutions' attention. They have come up with new legislations at the European level (Directive 2014/24/EU). From an exclusively economic selection criteria in the past (the lower price), there is now a shift toward a new model in which public authorities can decide to take in account social and environmental criterias. It is a very good news for SSE enterprises in most sectors in which they operate, and where they can be subject to public procurement contracts, e.g construction, transportation, waste management, or professional training.
Michel Barnier, former member of the European Commission in charge of Internal market recognized the interest of the evolution of contractualization methods between the public and the private sectors: « Public procurements and concessions are tools for the modernization of public action and can contribue to a fairer and sustainable growth model », he said.
Nethertheless, there is still a lot to be done for the generalization of social clauses in every European Union member countries. The transposition of the Directive in the member states is scheduled for April, 18th of 2016. Reinforcement of public authorities and SSE actors dialogue is therefore necessary to maximize the social benefits expected from its application.
Pour la Solidarité is very interested in this issue and will participate to the next intergroup meeting. Besides, in the framework of its research and training activities, PLS conducted a study for the "Luxemburg Union for Social Economy" (ULESS) on social clauses in public procurements.
Registration for the public hearing will shortly be opened.
More information on the intergroup on Social Economy Europe's website.