CECOP launches manifesto for EU elections

20 Mar 2014

Co-operatives active in industry and services across Europe published a manifesto for the 2014 European Parliament elections. In this manifesto, CECOP, the European Confederation of co-operatives and worker-owned enterprises active in industry and services, sets out the top priorities for the next legislature.

CECOP represents over 50,000 co-operatives and other employee-owned enterprises from 17 EU states, employing 1.4 million people.

Highlighting the resilience of co-operatives during the financial crisis, the manifesto calls for EU policies for sustainable growth and jobs, with a strong industrialization and re-industrialization drive, public investments and the promotion of services of general interest.

The manifesto calls also for the strengthening the cooperative mutualised business support services and regulatory frameworks for the creation of co-operative industrial clusters and horizontal groups. In regions like Emilia-Romagna co-operatives are part of a strong industrial clusters, accounting for 30% of the region’s gross domestic product (GDP). CECOP argues that better public policies for the promotion of co-operatives would help grow the sector, which in turn could drive growth and job creation.

“Business transfers should remain a priority on the EU agenda during the next legislature”, reads the manifesto. In France since 2008 there have been 224 transfers to employees and employee buyouts under the form of co-operatives, with a very high survival rate within the first 5 years, superior to the rate of any other French enterprises.

The manifesto is also suggesting that European and national policies should support the establishment of co-operatives by young people by ensuring national legal frameworks that enable young people to set up co-operatives in all sectors of activity. With more and more young people showing interest in the co-operative enterprise model, including co-operatives in school curricula would help students and pupils familiarise themselves with values such as self-responsibility, democracy, equality and solidarity, argues the manifesto.

Co-operatives also have an important role to play in providing services of general interest. Co-operatives are active in health and social services, energy, education, environmental protection or the labour integration of disadvantaged groups. By involving different stakeholders such as employees and placing a strong emphasis on democratic control, service beneficiaries or public authorities, co-operatives are able to provide unique services while reducing costs.

The manifesto reads: “ Legislation regulating co-operatives in which the primary direct purpose is the delivery of services of general interest, which exists in 7 EU member states today, should be encouraged across the EU”.

CECOP also calls for the re-establishment of a unit inside the European Commission in charge of co-operatives and the continuity of the Social Economy Intergroup in the European Parliament during the next legislature.

The manifesto is available online.



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