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The European Commission Guide on Social Economy is out, CECOP contributions inside!

13 May 2013 [ English ] français ]

The European Commission has recently published the volume 4 of the Social Europe guide dedicated to “Social Economy and Social Entrepreneurship”. The study underlines the role of those enterprises representing an important source of inspiration and energy to overcome the current crises. CECOP has been invited to address a message in the name of worker and social cooperatives. Several stories of cooperatives in industry and services from CECOP network have been mentioned: the French worker cooperative Ceralep; the Italian Consortium of social cooperatives “In Concerto”; the Bulgarian worker cooperative “Chernomorka”, and the Mondragon cooperative Group in Spain.

The guide highlights that, due to their bottom-up nature, social economy enterprises and social enterprises have been able to identify emerging needs and develop appropriate responses, often without the support of the public sector. Operating on the market and experiencing the need to maintain a high level of efficiency, they are able to contribute significantly to social innovation, developing new products and services designed to meet social needs. In particular, thanks to their closeness to the users and the local context, they are ideally positioned to intercept emerging needs in society, and to develop innovative responses to those needs.

The guide underlines also three main problems that those enterprises are facing: the lack of visibility, in particular from the mass media that does not recognize their importance and also, the difficulty in accessing finance and the lack of uniform regulation across different countries. The guide includes a letter from Bruno Roelants, Secretary General of CECOP (page 29) inviting European institutions and national governments “to deeply analyse why some enterprises are more resilient in times of crisis and to adopt adequate policy measures based on these lessons”. Worker and social cooperatives have proven their specific strengths for decades, and have demonstrated them once again, since the crisis has broken out in 2008: “their experience provides a strong source of inspiration for public policies, not just for cooperatives but for the whole enterprise world, but without effective policy measures, cooperative resilience will not last forever”.

The following CECOP publications have been mentioned as documentation used for the drafting of the guide: the study “The resilience of the cooperative model” and the books “Cooperatives, Territories and Jobs: Twenty experiences of cooperatives active in industry and services across Europe » and « Beyond the Crisis: Cooperatives, Work, Finance. Generating Wealth for the Long Term».

You can download the guide here