Co-operative conference in Podgorica calls for the adoption of a new co-operative legal framework in Montenegro

On 3rd July 2012 Cooperatives Europe, COSV, the Union of Co-operatives of Montenegro and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development hosted the joint conference ‘The Case for Gateway Co-operatives in Montenegro and the Balkans’.

The event was organized in the framework of the EU funded project developing co-operative enterprises in Montenegro. The conference took stock of the achieved results of this one-year project, in particular in developing a modern co-operative law. In the afternoon co-operative representatives from 8 Balkan countries as well as Turkey discussed the key challenges and opportunities of co-operatives in the Balkan region.

Tarzan Milosevic, Minster of Agriculture and Rural Development in Montenegro expressed his support for this co-operative project and its activities. “Co-operative structures allow people with different skills and resources to come together in order to make their economic activity sustainable and to overcome common obstacles.”

Nicola Bertolini, Head of Operations Section at the EU Delegation to Montenegro, called for the implementation of the new co-operative legal framework in the country as developed by the project partners and approved by the strategic table. Bertolini stressed that “the provision of an adequate legal framework will allow the creation of new co-operative enterprises in the rural development sector as well as the transformation of the old co-operatives currently operating under the law for non-governmental organisations.”

Dr. Hans-Jürgen Schaffland, legal expert from DGRV, Germany and Klaus Niederlander, Director of Cooperatives Europe, stressed that after 4 years of non-action on passing a modern co-operative law, it is time for action. Co-operatives need to be recognized as enterprises as anywhere else in the European Union and be assured a level playing field with other forms of enterprises, such as limited companies.

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