EU recognises co-ops as important part of the collaborative economy

The latest report also looks at issues surrounding regulation, competition, tax, workers' rights and the labour market

The collaborative economy is bringing a growing interest in the co-operative model, says the European Parliament.

The parliament’s European agenda for the collaborative economy points finds that entrepreneurs are becoming more aware of the benefits of the model.

And it argues that, if the collaborative economy is developed in a responsible manner, it could help create new opportunities for citizens, consumers and workers.

Cooperatives Europe, the regional office of the International Co-operative Alliance, welcomed this latest recognition of the importance of co-op model, as well as the parliament’s emphasis on identifying and addressing barriers to the emergence of collaborative businesses, particularly start-ups.

The report also touches on issues such as the EU regulatory framework, competition and tax compliances, the impact on labour market and workers’ rights and the local dimensions of the collaborative economy.

It warns that while certain parts of the collaborative economy are covered by regulation, others may fall into regulatory “grey areas” as it is not always clear which EU regulations apply. This, argues the paper, fragments the single market.

The role of co-ops in the collaborative economy was also explored at Cooperatives Europe’s General Assembly in Malta on 28 April. During a dedicated workshop, Cooperatives Europe presented a short animation underlining the potential of co-operatives for the future of the collaborative economy.

The video builds on a recent study by Cooperatives Europe and Lama Agency, which shows more and more co-operatives are exploring the collaborative economy.

Agnès Mathis, director of Cooperatives Europe, said: “Thanks to a long tradition of solidarity and social innovation, the European continent has seen the emergence of a patchwork of co-operative start-ups, which together shape a collaborative economy empowering its users and generating benefits for local communities.

“We look forward to work further with EU institutions and policy-makers to create an ambitious enabling environment for a people-centred, responsible collaborative economy.”

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