The European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor gave a keynote speech at the Conference Cooperatives and Work Integration of Disadvantaged Persons by highlighting that social cooperatives play a key role in Europe, “they bring a fresh vision and approach to the current mainstream economy. Among others they have been capable of enhancing the ability of disadvantaged groups of people to protect their own interests, by guaranteeing self-help outside the family in accessing basic goods and services. Cooperatives hold powerful tools for social innovation”. He mentioned the added value of membership in cooperatives, especially in social cooperatives where also disadvantaged workers are members of the enterprise and decide on its future. Read more.
The primary mission of several thousand cooperatives all over Europe is to provide sustainable and quality employment to those who are furthest and most excluded from the labour market and at the risk of poverty: persons with physical or mental disabilities, the long-term unemployed, migrants, minorities, ex-offenders, etc. Today, those cooperatives provide almost 40.000 jobs to disadvantaged citizens that can be found across Europe: in Italy, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Sweden, France, Spain and the UK. For instance in Italy, social cooperatives from the CECOP network provides around 32.000 jobs for disadvantaged persons and are one of the main categories of employers for those workers. In Bulgaria and Romania, cooperatives are the first employer for disabled workers. Read more.
The first ‘partners’ meeting in the frame of the EU project “Cooproute – The European Route of the Cooperative Culture” took place in Brussels on 24 and 25 October. It represented the first important opportunity for the 17 partners, coming from all over Europe, to meet each other and to work together at the new EU project coordinated by CECOP. Read more.
Vulnerable groups and persons with disabilities are more likely to be unemployed than others, increasing risks of poverty and social exclusion. Different types of barriers prevent them from entering and staying on the labour market. In Europe, several thousands cooperatives have as their primary mission to provide employment to disadvantaged workers. Read more.
The European Fair of Enterprises and Cooperatives in Social Economy will be held for the third time in a row in 2014 in Plovdiv (Bulgaria). Since 2012, the exhibition has developed into an international event - a European forum comprising an international conference, a roundtable discussion and a European Fair.In 2013, participants in the European Fair were 90 social enterprises and cooperatives from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Italy, Malta, Norway, Poland, Romania and Serbia, and the number of visitors amounted to 30,000. Read more.
After Fagor Electrodomésticos filed for protection from creditors while it tries to refinance its debt, a cooperative of the MONDRAGON Corporation, it should be emphasized that the cooperative model in general and the MONDRAGON Corporation in particular is showing its commitment to people. This commitment is stated in the decisions of the MONDRAGON Corporation to maintain and defend the jobs of nearly 2,000 workers in the Basque Country who could be affected by this difficult situation marked by a drop in sales and consumption. Read more.
CECOP has just launched a new European project aiming at the design of transnational product in the field of cultural and industrial tourism: an innovative itinerary going through various European countries. This route will be composed by cooperatives which are deeply rooted in the local territory, especially those run by young people, whose economic activities contribute to preserve the traditional local skills and products and develop a material and immaterial cultural heritage, being attractive from a point of view of tourism. In addition, other sites and destinations that best illustrate the culture and values of the cooperative movement will be part of the itinerary. Read more.
CECOP will provide with its expertise in the field of social cooperatives at the II International Multi-Sector Conference of Social Enterprises to be held on 14 and 15 November in Lodz, Poland. The main goal of the event is to exchange and share best practises in running and supporting European social enterprises and cooperation between public sector and social enterprises. Read more.