Belgrade, November 14th 2018 – The existing Draft Law on Social Entrepreneurship is deficient and its adoption would have as a consequence the exclusion of the majority of the existing social enterprises from a future legal regulation.

The wording of the Law, which is being addressed in the public hearing till November 23rd, exclusively limits the notion of social entrepreneurship to “labor integration”, neglecting other social functions of the social enterprises, which is contrary to the practice of the majority of the European countries.

The fact that the proposed draft law does not recognize the associations, foundations and cooperatives that are employing almost 10,000 people at this moment as the bearers of socio-entrepreneurial activities is particularly problematic. In this case, the Law should not be prescribing status forms, but it should rather envisage the conditions under which the existing legal forms can be identified with social enterprises for labor integration.

The Coalition for the Development of the Solidarity Economy and Citizens’ Initiatives invite the Serbian Government and the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Issues to rename and improve the existing draft law in the process of the public hearing so as to enable the absolute compliance of its name with the subject matter it regulates. We consider that it would be purposeful to name the future law “Law on Work Integration Social Enterprises (WISE)” instead of “Law on Social Entrepreneurship”. In that manner, a legal and institutional support would be enabled to vulnerable groups enabling their entering the labor market.

Social enterprises are private initiatives, which resolve social problems in a market manner. Contrary to the current practice in the European Union and the practice that has been conducted in Serbia so far, the proposed wording of the future law enables social enterprises to establish local self-governments and provinces, which directly impinges upon the nature of social entrepreneurship.

If the Law fails to be renamed and improved in the parts we are indicating, the Coalition for the Development of the Solidarity Economy will demand that the same should be withdrawn from the procedure. We are inviting the male and female citizens of Serbia to submit their respective proposals comments to the existing draft version to the relevant Ministry by November 23rd, and in the meantime, we shall also send a letter to our partners in Europe and the world, with the aim of receiving as broad a support as possible to bring that part of the social entrepreneurship sector into compliance with European practice. It is exactly the promulgation of a strategy for the sector that would lead to an improvement of this field and an improvement of the legal framework.