Social economy

In the final year of the 20th century, cooperatives banded together to establish a number of social enterprise agencies which have moved to adopt the multi-stakeholder cooperative model.[5][6] In the last 15 years (1994–2009) the EU and its member nations, have gradually revised national accounting systems to "make visible" the increasing contribution of social economy organizations. The European Union (EU) is an economic and political union of 27 member states that are located primarily in Europe.[11][12] The EU operates through a system of supranational independent institutions and intergovernmental negotiated decisions by the member states.[13][14][15] Institutions of the EU include the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Central Bank, the Court of Auditors, and the European Parliament. The European Parliament is elected every five years by EU citizens. The EU's de facto capital is Brussels.[16] The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC), formed by the Inner Six countries in 1951 and 1958 respectively. In the intervening years the community and its successors have grown in size by the accession of new member states and in power by the addition of policy areas to its remit. The Maastricht Treaty established the European Union under its current name in 1993.[17] The latest amendment to the constitutional basis of the EU, the Treaty of Lisbon, came into force in 2009. The EU has developed a single market through a standardised s stem of laws that apply in all member states. Within the Schengen Area (which includes 22 EU and 4 non-EU states) passport controls have been abolished.[18] EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital,[19] enact legislation in justice and home affairs, and maintain common policies on trade,[20] agriculture,[21] fisheries and regional development.[22] A monetary union, the eurozone, was established in 1999 and is composed of 17 member states. Through the Common Foreign and Security Policy the EU has developed a role in external relations and defence. Permanent diplomatic missions have been established around the world. The EU is represented at the United Nations, the WTO, the G8 and the G-20. Economies may be considered to have three sectors: the business private sector, which is privately owned and profit motivated; the public sector which is owned by the state on behalf of the people of the state; the social economy, that embraces a wide range of community, voluntary and not-for-profit activities. Sometimes there is also reference to a fourth sector, the informal sector, where informal exchanges take place between family and friends. The third sector can be broken down into three sub-sectors; the community sector, the voluntary sector and the social enterprise sector: The community sector includes those organisations active on a local or community level, usually small, modestly funded and largely dependent on voluntary, rather than paid, effort. Examples include neighbourhood watch, small community associations, civic societies, small support groups, etc.