“Social Economy- How to scale up?”


The European Economic and Social Committee held a conference on the 4th of June in Brussels on the topic of how social enterprises can scale up. Successful social enterprises shared their experiences on the road to success. The aim of the event was to propagate the social enterprise model and at the same time create a space for discussions on how to create an impact, have gender equality, and to scale up.


Nicholas Schmit (Ministry of Labour, Employment, Social and Solidarity Economy, Luxembourg). In Luxembourg they had adopted social economy and now see it is vital to be adopted on a larger scale too encourage entrepreneurs to adopt social economy standards. The hope is that social economy is adopted on the level of large enterprises. Start-ups already adopt the social economy approach and Schmit hopes this gains ground and becomes more popular around Europe. Time to be concrete and to develop social economy strategy on the European scale. Also, in Africa, Balkans, etc. The international community has a role to play in helping social enterprises scale up.

Christophe Itier (High Commissioner for Social Economy and Solidarity Economy and Social Innovation, FR) sees that political and economic influencers/decision makers have wrong or different ideas about social economy scaling up (increasing the visibility is often undervalued). They don’t think it is economically viable and it is just a means for social help, but this is simply not true. Therefore, it is necessary to make social enterprises more visible and show that it can be sustainable and economically profitable.

The 2018 edition of the Innovation Sessions took place on the 4th of June. It was aimed at bringing together various stakeholders from both public and private sector to discuss and debate on the topic of Healthcare Systems and Future Therapies.


The Keynote speech was by Carlos Moedas (the Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation) who spoke about the future directions of Horizon Europe.

Horizon Europe will be about merging the physical and the digital worlds. One of these is the Health field. Links between citizens and health- digitization of health.

Last 100 yrs were about killing the disease. He thinks the next 50 yrs would be about managing the patient life quality- personalised medicine.

Moedas believes (in reference to GDPR and the Facebook scandal) that we should personally own our data, especially our medical data, and do what we want with it- donate it for research or monetize it if we want to.

Carlos Moedas also thinks that in 5 years we will go to a doctor who utilizes an AI. If they do not use an AI then we would change the doctor. But we would not have the AI as the doctor, we still need the doctor with the human perspective.


The Commission has published an overview of the budget plans for Research and Innovation, namely Horizon Europe and Euratom. You may have a look at the publication here 

New features of Horizon Europe will be:

The European Innovation Council, which will provide support for start-ups and companies focusing on breakthrough innovation to scale up via two funding instruments.

EU-wide Research and Innovation missions will aim to create more impact by encouraging citizen involvement alongside stakeholders, the European Parliament and Member States and and focusing on the bold, ambitious goals.

Open science policy will put a greater emphasis on openness and sharing.

A new approach to Partnerships will rationalise the funding landscape.

Simpler rules will increase legal certainty and reduce bureaucracy.

Richer, Visionary, Simpler and Close to the market.  Those seem the be the keywords and lofty rhetoric which is emanating from the newly envisaged Horizon Europe programme promoters and designers that the upcoming new Framework of the European Union for research and innovation which will replace H2020 from 2021 onwards.

The ninth edition of the EU Framework Programme (FP9) will benefit from a significantly higher funding injection compared with its predecessor, (ca. €97.6 billion) which will make it the most highly funded R&D programme ever in the Commissions’ history. Part of this cash injection is a 6% decrease in direct funding for agriculture which has been reallocated to fund Horizon Europe as Common Agriculture payments will now be capped at a maximum of €60,000 Euro per farmer and an increased financial contribution from all member states to the R&D budget.

The EU parliament was expecting €120 billion, lobbyists were pushing for €160 billion and at the end, despite expected Brexit-related headaches and financial shortfalls, this FP will be one of the few MFF headings to be actually increased accompanied in tandem with a doubling of Erasmus+ which is a truly remarkable achievement

The name of the new FP has been wisely chosen by Commissioner Moedas in order to reflect the vision of the new programme, which aims to capture stakeholders’ hopes and expectations, and marking the first step on the road to a more prosperous future for all EU citizens.

EU citizens’ perception and public knowledge is limited and the benefit and the importance of EU spending in research and innovation is influenced by for example high profile R&D achievements across the water in the USA such as when NASA discovers new planets which were in fact actually uncovered by an EU funded Belgian scientist. Commissioner Moedas realized that a renewed and more efficient communication plan of the EU around its FPs is fundamental to build consensus among citizens and stakeholders.  A “new deal”, based on a type of mission specific approach, for EU research was felt to be required to be readily understandable to the public and capture their imagination and interest.  Ambitions such as plastic-free oceans by 2030 or ensuring the survival of three out of four cancer patients by 2034 is akin to such lofty goals such as former US president John F. Kennedy had back in 1961, when he promised to send a man to the moon and return him safely. Ambitious, aiming high but ultimately achievable and realistic if all the parts of the jigsaw are put together.

European Business Summit 2018 (EBS) took place 23- 24 May in Egmont Palace. EBS is aimed at bringing together business leaders who are able to network, debate and share ideas with policy makers as well as other influential figures. The event attracted around 2000 participants and 250 high level speakers. The most prominent topics covered at EBS were EU relations with China, US and Russia, Brexit, green economy, and also digital economy.


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit was held during 23rd of May in parallel at the venue. The SDG Summit had speakers from all over the world sharing their experiences in implementing sustainable solutions in business and CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility).

To see a better overview what the speakers discussed at EBS and SDG have a look at EFMC’s Twitter page

22 May 2018

Blue Point Brussels

80 Bd A. Reyers Ln, 1030 Brussels


EU Green Week took place around Europe. The opening event took place in Utrecht on Monday, 21st of May, followed by the Green Cities Summit and conference in Brussels, and concluded in Madrid on the 25th of May 2018.

EU Green Week’s Green Cities Summit was aimed at sharing the challenges and success stories of cities aiming to focus on a more eco-friendly future. As cities produce around 80% of the pollution then this year’s Green Week was geared on exploring how to make cities greener and more environmentally friendly. The aim of the event was to bring together various stakeholders to listen, learn and share their experiences.

4 May 2018

Charlemagne Building, Rue de la Loi 170

Brussels, Belgium


The LIFE 2018 Information and Networking Day gave an overview of the changes in the LIFE programme in terms of simplification of the application process by setting up a 2 stage application process. In addition to sharing their successes and achievements, the common problems of the projects were discussed, and the financial aspects of the budget received a good overview.

Maja Mikosinska (Head of Sector Unit LIFE and Eco-Innovation, EASME) introduced the new 2 stage application process:

1 .Preparation of Concept Note – only 10 pages via e-Proposal
2. Preparation of full proposal


EASME published their SME Instrument Report 2018 titled “Innovation Kitchen”. The SME Instrument has complemented the European innovation scene with

  • 1.3 billion euro in funding
  • during 4 years of the programme
  • supporting 3200 SMEs
  • providing 750 world class coaches
  • plus, business acceleration services

25 April 2018

Members’ Salon, European Parliament




Industry is central to Europe’s economy. Europe’s industrial sector has long been the engine for the sustainable growth of its economy and the main contributor to job creation. Industry is typically the largest source of business R&D, has larger technological and economic multipliers than other sectors, and is closely linked to knowledge-intensive services”