Care is a universal need, while care provision is a fast-growing sector of the economy. In anticipation of the European Care Strategy to be published this autumn, this CECOP report focuses on cooperatives across Europe which are active in the care sector, providing essentially all types of care services to millions of recipients and employing hundreds of thousands of carers. We look at how cooperatives contribute to meeting the high demand for care and address the various challenges in the sector. The report also showcases best practice examples and offers policy recommendations.

Cooperatives provide quality working conditions to the carers, because they are owned and managed by workers, either exclusively or alongside other stakeholders. They offer legal and stable employment in a sector where informal and undeclared work is prevalent, guaranteering labour rights and eliminating precarity. They involve workers in democratic governance of their enterprise, increasing job satisfaction. Cooperatives also offer to carers an improved work-life balance, greater gender equality, and training.

The people-oriented, not-for-profit business model of cooperatives also ensures high quality of their services. Cooperatives are inclusive and are created to serve communities’ needs; they often collaborate with care recipients, their family members, public authorities and other stakeholders, and even engage them in multistakeholder governance. Moreover, cooperatives are sustainable and resilient enterprises which offer uninterrupted service and drive technological and digital innovation.

Did you know?

  • In Italy, the pioneer of engaging cooperatives in care, more than 14 000 cooperatives provide care services to 5 milion people, employing 400 000 workers. The annual turnover of the sector exceeds 9 billion euro
  • CECOP’s Spanish member, COCETA, represents approximately 1 000 cooperatives providing care services: 500 residential and day centers and 500 more cooperatives providing home care. They directly employ 35 000 people and provide care to 67 000 persons
  • In Sweden, around 10% of child care is provided by cooperatives. While some of them are managed by parents, others are worker cooperatives or multistakeholder cooperatives


Read more about how cooperatives care for the European societies and what can be done on the national and EU level to support them:


Download the report (single page view) 


Download the report (double page view)







This publication has been funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the authors only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.