Society for Environmental Education in Korinthia Greece

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Greece

In the following description, NGOs are defined the following two categories of entities:
• The so-called NGOs or more precisely the Civil Society Organizations
• The social economy bodies

A. The NGOs or, more precisely, the Civil Society Organizations

Greek law does not include a definition of the concept, which has been actually developed in practice, mainly through the self-rating of non-governmental organizations. Civil society has been defined, among others, as the area “from the threshold of households to entry of public services”. Therefore it is not possible to calculate the exact number of NGOs operating in Greece. However, existing data show that the most populous are sports clubs, religious-church organizations, as well as educational-cultural associations.
Our appreciation is that in the term Civil Society Organizations, it is only right to include those who deal with issues related to civil society as a whole, ie cultural, environmental, human rights and arts.

Article 12 of the greek Constitution enshrines the right of association for all citizens without exception, however, the current legal framework does not provide any specific provisions on the establishment and operation of NGOs. An NGO may take their legal form provided by Civil Code no. 1667/86.

The non-profit legal entities governed by law are as follows:
• the non formal association of citizens,
• the non-profit civil society,
• the associations,
• the charity foundations
• the fundraiser
• other non-profit provided for by specific laws.

B. The social economy bodies

In 2011, the Law on the Social Economy in Greece adopted by the Parliament, and revised by Law 4430/16, describes the following entities

as bodies of social economy:

  • Social Cooperative Enterprises
  • Social Cooperatives Limited (LLSCs) primarily active in the mental health sector and governed by Article 12 of Law. 2716/1999 (A 96), complementary  to the provisions of Law. 1667 / 1986 (A’196), Article 12 of Law 3842/2010 (A 58)
  • Workers’ Cooperatives, set up by Article 24,
  • any other non-single-person legal entity if it has acquired legal personality, particularly as agricultural cooperatives of Law 4384/2016 (A 78), urban  cooperatives of Law 1667/1986, Urban Services of Articles 741

The social economy operators recorded in the relevant registers are 1322 (Jan. 2019).