Cooperatives Europe responds to Ursula von der Leyen’s election

The trade body says it looks forward to working with the new European Commission president

Cooperatives Europe has congratulated the new president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who was elected on 16 June.

The first woman to lead the commission, Ms Von der Leyen comes from the centre-right European People’s Party and has served as German defence minister. She is due to start on 1 November 2019 for a five-year term, taking over from current Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker.

Commenting on the election, Cooperatives Europe said it looked forward to working with Ms Von der Leyen. The apex body said that many of the political priorities that will frame the work of the upcoming European Commission are aligned with its key priorities set out in the Strategy Paper Cooperative future for Europe: will you be part of it?

Speaking before the Parliament, Ms Von der Leyen detailed her vision and political priorities. She said she wanted to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050 and work with the European Parliament to strengthen democracy and ensure a fair social market economy in Europe.

After being nominated by EU members states, she was elected with 383 votes in favour, with 327 against, and 22 abstained and one not valid.

Jean-Louis Bancel, president of Cooperatives Europe, commented: “We welcome Ursula von der Leyen’s vision of tomorrow’s Europe and reaffirm our willingness to work closely with the representatives of the European Commission to ensure a sustainable Europe that puts people before profit.”

Cooperatives Europe will focus on engaging with the commission around the European Pillar of Social Rights, entrepreneurship policies and an environmentally sustainable economy. The apex body highlighted that as people-centred enterprises, co-operatives have demonstrated their strength in establishing competitive businesses while putting people first. It advocates for a level-playing field among all enterprises and supports policy measures in the SME strategy that aim to support innovative companies such as co-operatives and other social economy enterprises.

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