Apr 23 2012
The Co-Operatve Way Forward in Europe
2012 is the International Year of Co-operatives and this week marks the main event of the year at a European level. Europe has 160,000 cooperatives, owned by more than a quarter of all Europeans, providing work for around 5.4 million employees.
In declaring 2012 as the International Year of Co-operatives the United Nations was encouraging all member states and relevant stakeholders to take advantage of it to establish policies, laws and regulations conducive to the formation, growth and stability of co-operatives.
Europe 2020 – the growth strategy of the EU for the coming decade – aims for “a sustainable economy, putting people and responsibility first with a sustained fight against exclusion and a transition to a green economy”.
Co-operatives already act in this way, putting people at the heart of their business, while at the same time generating long-term wealth for the communities.
Co-operative banks have shown high levels of sustainability and resilience during the financial crisis.
Thanks to their cooperative business model they increased turnover and growth. The economic weight of resilience and the values on which they are based clearly show them to be relevant in the EU of today.
This week’s events in Brussels are aiming to get a wider recognition and integration of the co-operative business model into EU strategies.
Five conferences will be hosted covering: The co-operative’s contribution to the EU 2020 strategy; A fair and competitive food supply chain; The Social Business Initiative; The co-operative banks’ business model; and sustainable housing in Europe.
Co-operatives and other social economy enterprises are part of the European social model and the single market and therefore deserve strong recognition and support.
Some say ‘there is no other way’ I say there is always the co-operative way!