Greece to discuss new law on Social and Solidarity Economy

The Greek parliament will be debating a new law on the social and solidarity economy, which includes provisions relating to co-operatives and mutuals. The law also touches upon...

The Greek parliament will be debating a new law on the social and solidarity economy, which includes provisions relating to co-operatives and mutuals. The law also touches upon social and worker co-operatives, building on previous legislation from 1999 and 2011.

CICOPA, the International Organisation of Industrial and Service Cooperatives, and CECOP, the European confederation of industrial and service co-operatives, have sent a joint letter to Rania Antonopoulos, the Greek Alternate minister of Labour, suggesting a series of modifications.

The two organisations point out that the legislation should differentiate between the wider social and solidarity economy and the social and worker co-operatives.

They suggest that separate laws should be passed for each sector – and that the definition of co-operatives should be inserted into Greek legislation. This definition, including co-op values values and principles, are featured in the International Co-operative Alliance’s Statement on the Co-operative Identity and in the International Labour Organization’s Declaration 193 on the Promotion of Cooperatives.

The letter also suggests the law should include the definition and key characteristics of social co-operatives as formulated in the CICOPA 2011 World Standards of Social Cooperatives and the CICOPA 2003 World Declaration on Worker Cooperatives.

Another idea put forward is to define tax related provisions, in particular regarding the employment of disadvantaged persons and the change of ownership in worker buyouts. The minister is also advised to provide the option that social co-operatives be multi-stakeholder, with different categories of members.

In addition, CECOP and CICOPA recommend the Greek government to create audit functions covering the proper implementation of the co-operative modus operandi, to be exercised by the representative associations through their own auditors in the case of affiliated co-operatives, and by the state in the case of non-affiliated ones, a model used in a number of EU states.

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