With the European Commission due to adopt a Social Economy Action Plan by the end of 2021, Cooperative Europe has revealed some of the sector’s priorities.
The apex has released two position papers on the role of co-ops in Europe’s sustainable growth and recovery strategy, and their contribution to international development. The apex has also provided input into the Commission’s roadmap towards the action plan through its European Union Coordination Committee.
In its position papers, Cooperatives Europe wants increased visibility and knowledge of co-operatives and social economy enterprises (SEE); and it says the sector needs recognition of them as a transversal actor in the socio-economic policies of the EU. It also calls for an ecosystem conducive to the development of co-ops and other SEE. Cooperatives Europe argues this could be done by facilitating access to finance and investments, enabling them to create quality jobs and fully operate at transnational level in the single market.
Co-operatives and other SEEs should also be at the heart of technological innovation, green and digital transition, says the apex, adding that allowing significant investments for the sector would be beneficial. It suggests enhancing structured models of co-operation among public institutions and the social economy actors.
The action plan should recognise the significant contributions of co-operatives in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the EU’s international development priorities, adds Cooperatives Europe. Its position paper argues that the plan “needs to ensure that the voices of co-operatives and their networks are included in the implementation of EU external policies such as the Neighbourhood Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) and in policy dialogues with civil society and private sector including at EU delegation level”.
Cooperatives Europe represents 84 member organisations from 33 European countries across all business sectors. The two position papers are available on Cooperatives Europe’s website.