A significant proportion of Europe’s economy is intended to make profits for people other than investors or owners. Known as the ‘social economy’, it includes cooperatives, mutual societies, non-profit associations, foundations and social enterprises. There are 2 million social economy enterprises in Europe, representing 10% of all businesses in the EU. More than 11 million people – about 6% of the EU’s employees – work for social economy enterprises. The opinion underlines that the social economy institutions and actors have proved to be resilient during the crisis, helping to improve public well-being and keep people on the labour market even when other organisations and businesses have been unable to do so. This is of particular importance to regions marked by emigration, a rapidly ageing population, lack of economic dynamism and a low level of entrepreneurship. The rapporteur would therefore like to see the development of a legal framework, which would allow the social economy to develop and function and steps to be taken that will encourage an entrepreneurial spirit.