Past and present of a worldwide movement
Cooperatives in industry and services have been active in Europe for around 170 years at least: the first recorded worker cooperative was established in 1833 in Paris among jewellers. Between the end of the 19th Century and the beginning of the 20th Century, worker cooperatives spread all over the continent, including Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans.
The first national federation of worker cooperatives recorded in history is the French one, established in 1884. In 1895, the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) was established, and in 1947 the ICA’s dedicated body for industrial, service and craft cooperatives, CICOPA, was set up.
CECOP- CICOPA Europe was founded in 1979 in Manchester, and its permanent secretariat was established in 1982 in Brussels. In the second half of the 1990s, it became a full-fledged confederation as well as the European organisation of CICOPA, thereby formally extending its geographical scope to the whole European continent. During the first half of this decade, CECOP- CICOPA Europe actively prepared the ground for the establishment of Cooperatives Europe, the European organisation grouping cooperatives from all sectors, which was founded in 2006 in Manchester.
Thus, CECOP- CICOPA Europe is strongly embedded in the cooperative movement: it is the sectoral organisation of Cooperatives Europe for industry and services and the regional organisation of CICOPA for Europe, which in turn, is the sectoral organisation for industry and services of the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA).