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In an opinion, the EESC recognises the stronger resilience of cooperatives in times of crisis and promotes business transfers to employees

11 May 2012 [ English ] français ]

In an opinion adopted on 12th April called “Cooperatives and Restructuring”, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) highlighted how cooperatives develop new entrepreneurial initiatives in times of crisis, displaying a stronger resilience than conventional enterprises. The texts highlights that this capacity applies in particular to cooperative banks but also to worker cooperatives, social cooperatives, and cooperatives formed by SMEs. The EESC also points out the need to facilitate the transfer of business to employees by inviting Member States to develop new legal frameworks.

The opinion (Rapporteur Marie Zvolska – from the Czech cooperative federation SCMVD and co-rapporteur Jan Olsson – Coompanion and CECOP vice-President), underlines the relative superior performances of cooperative enterprises when it comes to growth, employment, survival rates and start-ups, as it was developed in the book “Beyond the crisis: Cooperatives, Work, Finance" published by CECOP and mentioned in the report. Among other things, the report mentions the higher survival rate of worker cooperatives in France and the better employment rate and lower rate of failure for all cooperatives in Italy.

In addition, the EESC acknowledges the contribution of cooperatives to the EU 2020 strategy, as a business model that contributes to social and territorial cohesion. This opinion has reportedly caught the full attention of Commissioner Michel Barnier (Internal Market) who has mentioned it several times, as well as the Cabinet of Commissioner Tajani (Enterprise and Industry).

Enzo Pezzini from the Confcooperative office in Brussels participated very actively to the drafting of this opinion. In Europe, according to the EESC’s opinion, cooperatives account for 160,000 enterprises owned by 123 million members, providing jobs for 5.4 million people.

The opinion is available here: http://www.eesc.europa.eu/?i=portal.en.ccmi-opinions.19704