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The social economy in the European Union - Summary

Report drown up for the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)

The general objective of this report is to update the study "The Social Economy in the European Union" published in 2008 by the European Economic and Social Committee, expanding its scope to include all 27 of the current EU Member States and the acceding/candidate countries (Croatia and Iceland respectively), and examining the definitions, state, contribution, legal instruments and public policies surrounding the social economy (SE) as well as the impact of the economic crisis. 
To meet the latter objective, the report makes use of three intermediate objectives or tools that have not been sufficiently defined until now. The first is to establish a clear, rigorous definition of the SE as a concept, and of the different classes of company and organisation that form part of it.  The second intermediate objective is to identify the different agents which, irrespective of their legal form, form part of the SE in each EU Member State on the basis of the definition established in this report, and to compare the different national definitions used in relation to the SE concept.  The third intermediate objective is to provide macro-economic data on the SE in the 27 Member States and the two candidate countries, to examine recent national legislation on the SE, to conduct a comparative analysis at national level of current concepts and perceptions of the SE in each country, and to analyse how the social economy can and will contribute to implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy.

author(s): R. Chaves, J. L. Monzón, Centre of Research and Information on the Public, Social and Cooperative Economy (CIRIEC)
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