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Legal Regulation of Economic Activities of Civil Society Organizations

Almost all European countries allow CSOs to directly engage in economic activities without requiring them to create commercial entities for that purpose up to a certain level of income. The paper analyzes the question whether and how non-profit organizations can be engaged in economic activities. Raising funds from selling services and goods ensures organizations’ sustainability, and makes them less dependent on other external financing (public, state or foreign funds). At the same time civil society organizations must maintain the balance between various sources of income and maintain their non-profit status.

The present paper also covers the aspect of social entrepreneurship and investment activities by non-governmental organizations. The authors display several examples of legislation and legal practice in Eastern and Western Europe. Based on the cited examples the report concludes with recommendations regarding the best practices of CSO legal regulation.