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International Cooperative Day: “Cooperative enterprise remains strong in times of crisis”

6 July 2013 [ English ] français ]

Today, cooperative enterprises all around the world celebrate the International Day of Cooperatives, proclaimed by the United Nations and the International Cooperative Alliance. CECOP – CICOPA Europe, the European Confederation of Cooperatives and worker-owned enterprises active in industry and services, is joining the celebration by welcoming the report approved on 2 July by the European Parliament on the contribution of cooperatives active in industry and services to overcome the crisis. The latter demonstrates that the European Parliament has taken into account recommendations addressed during the last few years and notably in the report: “The resilience of the cooperative model published by CECOP – CICOPA Europe in 2012.

This year’s theme is “Cooperative enterprise remains strong in times of crisis”. The experience of the CECOP-CICOPA Europe network shows that even in a crisis-hit country like Spain, despite more than six million people being unemployed, according to the Spanish Confederation of Workers Cooperatives (COCETA), employment figures in worker cooperatives grown by 300% in 2012, compared to the previous year.
It is also estimated that between 2007 and 2011, employment in Italian cooperatives has increased by 8%, compared with a decrease of 2.3% in all types of enterprises. Nowadays, cooperatives contribute to 7.2% of the total employment created by enterprises in Italy, and regarding the sectors of activity, the most significant contribution is in the service sector [1]. In France, the latest figures for 2012 reveal, among other issues, an increase in employment of 4%. In 2012, a total of 248 new cooperatives have emerged. 82.5% of French worker cooperatives established three years ago are still pursuing their activities today (compared with 66% for all French companies, according to the French Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies, INSEE) [2].

CECOP – CICOPA Europe remembers that the report of the European Parliament urges the European Commission to focus attention on business transfers to employees, under the cooperative form, and in this sense to create services dedicated especially for this task. Member States are also asked to develop legal frameworks to facilitate business transfers to employees, including adequate financial mechanisms. In order to financially support business transfers under the cooperative form, a European financial instrument is required – with the participation of the European Investment Bank - as well as the use of Structural Funds.

The publications about cooperatives in industry and services recently made public by CECOP – CICOPA Europe analyze their resilience to the crisis. 2012 study [3] and the documentary “Together” [4] have revealed, through extensive research and exclusive interviews, why cooperatives in the industry and services sector show a higher resilience to the crisis and its consequences in Europe.

Today’s 19th UN International Day of Cooperatives is also the 91st International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) International Cooperative Day. Indeed, the first time that the ICA celebrated the International Day was in 1923. Since 1995, the ICA and the United Nations have been setting the theme for the celebration of the International Day through the Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives (COPAC).

[1According to the “Annual Report on Cooperation in Italy” published by the Alliance of Italian Cooperatives, 2012: http://www.legacoop.coop/multimedia/allegati/PrimoRapportoCensissullacooperazioneinItalia.pdf

[3“The resilience of the cooperative model”http://inspiretrends.com/free-html5-responsive-templates/

[4« Together. How cooperatives show resilience to the crisis », CECOP – CICOPA Europe, 2012: http://www.together-thedocumentary.coop/