|The Social Economy Action Plan provides a clear and inclusive definition of the social economy in Europe:
“In the context of this action plan and related EU initiatives, the social economy covers entities sharing the following main common principles and features: the primacy of people as well as social and/or environmental purpose over profit, the reinvestment of most of the profits and surpluses to carry out activities in the interest of members/users (“collective interest”) or society at large (“general interest”) anddemocratic and/ or participatory governance.“
The definition specifically mentions the following social economy organisations: cooperatives, mutual benefit societies, associations (including charities), and social enterprises. Furthermore, the Commission’s staff working document accompanying the Action Plan provides an in depth analysis of the main social economy organisation forms, and explores emerging areas of activity as healthcare, housing (strongly linked to the new European Bauhaus and the Renovation Wave), circular economy, insurance, renewable energies, social services, education, banking and finance, agriculture, forestry, industry, sports and leisure, etc.
The staff working document also makes a in depth analysis of all the contributions and milestones that have led to this Social Economy Action Plan and points out relevant sources of EU funding to support the Social Economy in 2021-2027 period.