One of the items on the agenda of 20 June 2018 of the Committee on Legal Affairs of the European Parliament (JURI) is the Statute for social and solidarity-based enterprises.
JURI, October 2017
These enterprises in a draft report of October 2017 are defined as:
(a) in accordance with its Articles of Association, Statutes or with any other legal document by which it is established, has as its primary objective the achievement of measurable, positive social impacts rather than generating profit for its owners, members and shareholders, and which:
(i) provides services or goods which generate a social return and/or
(ii) employs a method of production of goods or services that embodies its social objective;
(b) uses its profits first and foremost to achieve its primary objective and has predefined procedures and rules covering any distribution of profits to shareholders and owners that ensure that such distribution does not undermine the primary objective; and
(c) is managed in an entrepreneurial, accountable and transparent way, in particular by involving workers, customers and stakeholders affected by its business activities;
In the report it is proposed to introduce a European label for social enterprises. One of the other proposals is that the legislative act should include a revisable list of legal forms in member states of enterprises and undertakings qualifying for the European social label.
The Commission is invited to review existing legislation and to submit, where appropriate, legislative proposals establishing a more coherent and complete legal framework in support of social enterprises.
Think Tank report, December 2017
The European Parliament Think Tank has written a report on the social enterprise, abstract:
Social enterprises combine societal goals with entrepreneurial spirit. These organisations focus on achieving wider social, environmental or community objectives. There is currently no specific European legal framework to help social enterprises to benefit from the internal market. Against this background, this European added value assessment identifies the challenges in the existing national legal frameworks regarding social enterprises. It argues that action at EU level would generate economic and social added value. Moreover, it outlines potential legislative measures that could be taken at EU level, and that could generate European added value through simplification and a coordinated approach in this area.
It reminds of the ‘maatschappelijke onderneming‘ that some time ago was discussed by Dutch parliament.
- Draft report (pdf) JURI, with recommendations to the Commission on a Statute for social and solidarity-based enterprises, October 2017
- European Parliament Think Tank report (pdf), EPRS | European Parliamentary Research Service, 6 December 2017
- Amendments (pdf), JURI, January 2018
- Draft opinion (pdf), ECON, 8 March 2018
- Draft opinion (pdf), Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, 8 March 2018
- Announcement of a hearing on 22 March 2018, draft programme.
- The ‘maatschappelijke onderneming’ in the Dutch parliament, proposal of 2009, withdrawn in 2013, page 1st Chamber; wikipedia.
- Robert Helder, “Van wie is de maatschappelijke onderneming?“, (2014) Maandblad voor vermogensrecht, volume 2014, issue 2, pp. 36 – 42.
- Maak burger eigenaar van maatschappelijke ondernemingen, Raymond GradusWillem van Leeuwen, Mejudice 21 december 2013.
Addition 28 June 2018
There is a new Think Tank report on this subject:
Statute for social and solidarity-based enterprises
Social enterprises combine entrepreneurial activity with a positive social, environmental or community impact. However, they also struggle with regulatory obstacles, access to funding and visibility. No consensus exists on a definition of ‘social enterprise’, which makes their regulation and funding problematic across various systems. The European Parliament is expected to vote in July 2018 on an own-initiative report, which calls on the European Commission to improve the regulatory framework by creating a ‘European social label’ scheme aimed at providing coherent legal rules in support of social enterprises.