Legal information on Social Entrepreneurship... in Romania

Social economy – social entrepreneurship – are subject of conceptual debates and regulatory initiatives since 2010. As a consequence of above developments and an emerging need among the sector and policymakers for clearer definitions, policy debates have started. Worth mentioning two legislative initiatives: one parliamentary initiative of a social – democrat MP the law on Social Entrepreneur and a draft law prepared by the Ministry of Labour with some international consultants.

  • The first draft law - Law on Social Entrepreneurship had numerous flaws confusing social enterprises and enterprises established by traditional companies with a social aim – poorly defined, mainly work creation, confusing it with corporate social responsibility and providing fiscal breaks for social investments by companies – among which multinationals where explicitly listed. This draft has shown the lack of clarity surrounding the concepts of social entrepreneurship and social economy to a large extent new to the Romanian society. It has generated an outrage within a broad coalition of mainly NGOs joined by credit unions (more actively by the credit unions of the retired) initiated by CSDF. Following this campaign the draft law was withdrawn by the Parliament in the final phase of the legislative debate.
  • The second draft law - Law on Social Economy was initiated by the Ministry of Labour and was generated in consultation with representatives of all three sector concerned: the NGOs sector, the credit unions federations and cooperatives during 2010-2011. Much of the discussions were around the concepts, definitions and principles. This was the period when new identities of both the "traditional, old economy" sector and of the new sector of mainly work integration social enterprises emerged.. This draft was launched by the Ministry in the public debate in December 2011. A working group established by CSDF with NGOs and credit unions have proposed numerous amendments to this text. At the present moment, the final draft of the law is under debate in the Parliament.

In present, the main key actors of Romanian social economy are: associations and foundations with entrepreneurial activity, cooperatives (craftsmen's cooperatives, consumers' cooperatives, credit cooperatives) and credit unions (credit unions of employees and of retired people). Also, Romania has another forms of social economy entities, like authorized sheltered workshops, (they function under law 448/2006, provided that at leat 1/3 of the emplyees are persons with disabilities) and commercial subsidiaries of NGOs, and new forms in debate: professional insertion enterprises (Law of Social Economy).

Associations and Foundations


Law no. 27 on Local Taxes and Fees - May, 24, 1994 (Ordinances 61/1997 and 24/1995 included)
Law on Profit Tax - 414/2002


There are two large types of cooperative societies: cooperative societies which are established and function according to Law no. 1/2005, the credit cooperatives which are established and function according to the Government Emergency Ordinance no. 99/2006 regarding the credit institutions and capital adequacy, with subsequent changes and completions. According to Law no. 1/2005, the cooperative society is defined as the autonomous association of natural and/or legal persons, established by their free consent, with the purpose to promote the economic, social and cultural interests of the cooperative members, being owned jointly and controlled in a democratic manner by its members, according to the cooperative principles. The cooperative society is an economic agent with private capital.

Emergency Ordinance No. 99 of 6 December 2006 on Credit Institutions and Capital Adequacy
Law no. 1 of 21/02/2005

Credit unions

Credit Union is a community interest association without patrimonial goals, i.e. founded by the free acceptation and associating will of its members. Its goal is to develop solidarity links that is of providing support and material help for its members, by attracting social funds from the members and by granting those loans. The Credit Union Federation (FECAR) has made a goal for itself of getting national and international representation, i.e. to lead, coordinate, supervise and control the activity of the associated Credit Unions. In its activity the CAR Federation would apply democratic principles in terms of organizations and functioning.