Foreword by Luca JAHIER
As President of the Various Interests Group of the European Economic and Social Committee(EESC) I would like to strongly welcome this study on the state of the Social Economy in theEuropean Union, which was commissioned by the EESC and carried out by CIRIEC. Since theprevious study on the same topic published in 2008, much has changed in the European Unionnd it was considered necessary to re-examine the scope and impact of the sector, both in theEU Member States and in the two candidate countries (Croatia and Iceland). Moreover, 2012 is theUN International Year of Cooperatives and an opportunity for the entire social economy sector toemonstrate its contribution to our societies and our economies.Undoubtedly, the social economy is a sector which makes a signiﬁcant contribution to employmentreation, sustainable growth and to a fairer income and wealth distribution. It is a sector which isble to combine proﬁtability with social inclusion and democratic systems of governance, workinglongside the public and private sectors in matching services to needs. Crucially, it is a sectorwhich has weathered the economic crisis much better that others and is increasingly gainingrecognition at the uropean level.Nonetheless, much still needs to be done in increasing understanding, in raising awareness and inbuilding public trust in the sector. A ﬁrst step in this process is to fully comprehend the scope andcale of the social economy within the European Union and for this reason it has been necessary torevisit the acts and gures. Armed with this inormation, we must now strive or unity and a newidentity for the sector, despite its multiple dimensions. We must reinforce its proﬁle, highlightingits economic and social potential as a
to the current economic and social crises and as aninstrument for positive change. I call on all relevant stakeholders to work together to achieve this!
President of the Various Interests GroupEuropean Economic and Social Committee
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Foreword: Mr Luca Jahier, President of the Various Interests Group of the European Economic and ocial Committee (EESC) and Mr Miguel Ángel Cabra de Luna, Spokesperson of the Social Economy ategory of the EESC 2. Chapter 1: Introduction and objectives3. Chapter 2: Historical evolution of the concept of the social economy 4. Chapter 3: Identifying the actors and groups included in the concept of the social economy 5. Chapter 4: The main theoretical approaches related to the social economy . Chapter 5: Comparative analysis of the prevailing deﬁnitions relating to the concept of the social conomy in each European Union Member State and candidate country 7. Chapter 6: The social economy in the European Union and in the candidate countries in ﬁgures8. Chapter 7: The legal framework governing social economy actors in European Union countries and andidate countries and the public policies in place, with a focus on recent new national legislationn the socal economy 9. Chapter 8: The social economy in a Europe amid global crisis10. Chapter 9: European Union Policies and the social economy, with a focus on the Europe 2020trategy: facts and impact 11. hapter 1: hallenges an conclusons