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Hamon highlights the resilience of cooperatives to the crisis

7 September 2012 [ English ] français ]

Benoît Hamon, the French Deputy Minister for Social and Solidarity Economy, participated yesterday at the European Parliament’s Social Economy Intergroup. In his speech he highlighted the cooperatives resilience to the crisis “even when they are present in highly competitive markets”; because, as he mentioned, cooperatives are oriented toward the long term objectives and can rely on their own resources

But the crisis is not the only aspect that can put enterprises at risk, as Hamon reported; between 50.000 and 200.000 jobs are lost each year in France due to the closure of “healthy” enterprises (family businesses without heirs etc). The minister has underlined that the transfer of those enterprises to its workers under the cooperative form could not only save those jobs but also maintain them in the long-term. The Minister plans to adapt the existing French law on worker cooperatives in order to facilitate worker’s buy outs.

“There is not just one enterprise model, we are told that just one economic model is possible but this is not true”, claimed Hamon. Recently in France employment in social economy enterprises has risen by 23% when conventional enterprises have only risen by 7% of new jobs. He insisted saying that social economy is neither “an economy only to repair” neither an economy just focused in providing services to disadvantaged people. Hamon named some of the advantages of the social economy enterprises: they do not delocalize their activities and their capacity to innovate: “it is the most innovative sector in the social field”.

CECOP has also been invited to the conference to present the results of the study “The resilience of the cooperative model” and particularly to talk about the impact of the crisis on employment in worker and social cooperatives.