IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

New Frontiers in the Legal Structure and Legislation of Social Enterprises in Europe: A Comparative Analysis


  • Fabrizio Cafaggi; Paola Iamiceli


This paper aims at presenting and discussing policy issues regarding the legal structure and legislation of the social enterprise through the lenses of recent law reforms in Europe. The legislation of seven countries is analysed: Portugal, France, Poland, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Finland and Italy. National models are compared distinguishing them according to the legal form and the main rules concerning asset allocation, governance and responsibility. Aware about the specificity that the legal, social and economic context may entails in each legal system, the authors conclude that, in order to promote a distinctive role for social enterprise in Europe, the law should guarantee: a control mechanism over the social nature of the finality pursued by the organisation, as defined at least per broad principles by the law; the enforcement of a positive (although not total) assets lock to ensure the achievement of social goals; the possibility for the enterprise to sustain its own activity through remunerated financing; a certain degree of stakeholders’ interests representation inside the governance of the enterprise, with specific but not necessarily exclusive representation with regards to beneficiaries and employees; the enforcement of a non-discrimination principle concerning the composition of membership, if any; the enforcement of a democratic principle inside the governing bodies which allows pluralism, fair dialogue and no emergence of controlling rights, unless in favour of non profit organisations which share the social goals and the democratic nature of the social enterprise; an adequate degree of accountability which allows sufficient information disclosure, also in favour of third parties, about the governance and the activity of the social enterprise.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabrizio Cafaggi; Paola Iamiceli, 2008. "New Frontiers in the Legal Structure and Legislation of Social Enterprises in Europe: A Comparative Analysis," EUI-LAW Working Papers 16, European University Institute (EUI), Department of Law.
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:euilaw:p0110

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Carlo Borzaga, 2013. "Social enterprise," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics of Reciprocity and Social Enterprise, chapter 32, pages 318-326 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Bellanca, Nicolò, 2011. "Elementi di una teoria dell'impresa sociale," AICCON Working Papers 95-2011, Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:erp:euilaw:p0110. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Machteld Nijsten). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.