Mutual societies provide services supplementary to statutory social security systems, or services of social nature, or insurance services covering all types of life and non-life (re-) insurance, or services in fields such as credit for housing etc.
In some Member States they are not allowed to operate nor to conduct some activities, and have limited possibilities to form horizontal cross-border groups. The study contains details on characteristics, legal frameworks, corporate governance, and economic importance, as well on barriers that these enterprises face in Europe, when they wish to engage in activities across borders or to create groups. It ends with recommendations on how these obstacles could be removed. The Commission is seeking views on how this type of enterprises can be promoted and more specifically on the need and possible advantages of a proposal for a Regulation establishing the legal statute for European Mutual Society.