Recent evolutions of the social economy in the European Union
The general objective of the Report is to study the recent evolution of the social economy (SE) in the European Union (UE) and its 28 member states. It focuses in three areas: firstly, the social economy and the emergent concepts/movements related to the space between states and market/for profit businesses, secondly, the public policies in their large sense built both at the EU and the Member countries in recent years to enhance the social economy sector and thirdly, measuring the weight of the social economy in each EU Member country. This research is not only an update of the studies... entitled “The Social Economy in the European Union”, carried out by CIRIEC and published in 2008 and in 2012 by the European Economic and Social Committee, but also an analysis and assessment of recent evolution in this field in Europe. In order to provide answers to the research topics, the project was structured around three areas. In the first, the conceptual area, the research undertook an overview of the emergent concepts, comparing them with the established EU concept of the social economy and identifying their challenges. In the second area, public policies, the research focused on the policies towards the social economy deployed by governments, at the European level and at the national level, in the recent period (2010-16). The environment and ‘ecosystem’ of the social economy is a major factor that can facilitate the development of social economy entities or can constitute an external barrier to them. The project formulated a framework to categorise all these policies. It provides for a review of the main initiatives deployed at the EU and national levels, a comparative analysis of the new national legislation on the Social Economy and an assessment of their impact in Europe. The third area is statistical. Its central goal was to provide quantitative data on the social economy in the 28 Member States, following the same method used in the two former studies carried out by CIRIEC for the EESC. It also studied the recent developments in statistics and the available data around Europe.