The European Confederation of industrial and service co-operatives (CECOP) called upon EU ministers to take into account cooperatives’ contribution to sustainable economic growth and regional development.
CECOP argued co-ops should have been mentioned in the Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan, particularly since they have proven their resilience throughout the financial crisis.
Vice-President of the European Commission, Antonio Tajani, presented the Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan to the Competitiveness Council on 18 February. The publication of the Action Plan followed a public consultation, in which Cooperatives Europe had participated.
The Action Plan aims to boost entrepreneurship in Europe and generate employment. In countries like Italy or Spain worker co-ops have not only proven their resilience during the financial crisis, but also experiences growth and maintained employment.
Coops Europe also said that the important role of co-operatives should have been recognised in the document.
According to CECOP, when mentioning the transfer of businesses, the Action Plan should make a clear reference to the successful business transfers to employees under the co-operative form that have taken place around Europe.
“Promoting all types of business transfers, including business transfers to employees, is in the core interest of the European countries and regions: local wealth and skills are maintained. Especially in the current situation, the EU can ill afford to deny successful experiences of enterprises and jobs being saved”, said Bruno Roelants, Secretary General of CECOP.
CECOP further argues that co-ops bring an international dimension and innovation to the business world. The confederation of industrial and worker co-ops says inter-SME collaborative network under the co-operative model should be encouraged in the Action plan, claiming co-operation empowers SMEs.
According to CECOP, the International Year of Co-operatives could prove to be a great source of inspiration for the development of SMEs in Europe, thus EU ministers should not ignore co-ops.