Diverse forms of enterprise

EESC opinion: Diverse forms of enterprise

Key points:


The EESC views the preservation of the diversity of forms of enterprise in the EU as very important for achieving the single market and maintaining the European social model, as well as for meeting the Lisbon Strategy's objectives for jobs, competitiveness and social cohesion. It therefore stresses the need for the legal framework regulating enterprises, together with competition policy, to promote the diversity and plurality of forms of enterprise.


In this regard, the EESC:

  • considers that competition law should provide a balanced legal framework that can be applied to the different forms of enterprise;
  • requests that the Commission begin work on approving separate European statutes for associations and mutual societies;
  • urges the Commission to respect the identity of cooperatives in accounting matters and treat the members' share capital as the cooperatives' shareholders' equity rather than debt;
  • calls on the Commission and the Member States to foster the creation of statistical registers of cooperatives, mutual societies, associations, foundations and similar enterprises, and in particular the preparation of satellite accounts;
  • calls on the Commission to encourage Member States to study the possibility of granting compensatory measures to enterprises on the basis of their confirmed social value or of their proven contribution to regional development;
  • calls on the European Commission, in conjunction with a monitoring centre for the diverse forms of enterprise, to further develop the necessary basic instruments that already exist, whose role would be to ensure that enterprises are not discriminated against in any of the policies affecting them.

Lastly, in cases where they demonstrate their representativeness, the EESC calls for all organisations which are most representative of the diverse forms of enterprise to be involved in the social dialogue.

For more information please contact the INT Section Secretariat.