Cooperative model: key to progress in the EU development agenda

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On 28th January, Cooperatives Europe and Euro Coop jointly held the seminar ‘Businesses for Development: Perspectives from the Cooperative World’ at the European Parliament in Brussels. The event, hosted by MEP Linda McAvan, Chair of the EU DEVE Committee, presented the new online projects database ‘Cooperatives in Development’ and opened a dialogue between stakeholders on the added value of cooperatives in development. It was organised in the framework of the European Year for Development 2015.

During the seminar, the new website ‘Cooperatives in Development’ was officially presented at the European level. The website currently showcases 295 active international cooperative projects carried out by the Cooperatives Europe Development Platform, a European network of cooperative organisations active in international development and led by Cooperatives Europe. The website is designed to connect projects in international cooperation.

In her speech, MEP Linda McAvan, said: “The upcoming international meetings in the framework of the European Year for Development will be critical to define the development agenda for the next ten years. In this scenario, the private sector is key to development.”

Cooperatives welcome EU institutions’ increasing attention to the private sector in development, and recognition of the role of cooperative businesses. As people-centred businesses, cooperatives make a strong contribution to job creation, and they empower local communities to fulfill their human, social and economic right and needs.

Klaus Niederländer, Director at Cooperatives Europe, said: “We have built the online platform to increase the effectiveness of our actions but also to give visibility to what cooperatives already do in development cooperation and to highlight their potential. Cooperatives’ specificities, built on democratic ownership and decision-making, are crucial to enabling an inclusive development process. Therefore, there must be a clearer recognition from EU institutions of cooperatives as strong development actors, and a greater support for cooperatives to be included in EU development initiatives and programmes.”

Todor Ivanov, Secretary-General at Euro Coop, said: “We believe that cooperatives have consistently showed the way on how sustainable development is truly achieved. Through their inclusive entrepreneurial model they have shaped a different way of doing business in developing countries, based on empowerment and creation of long-lasting value. That is why we call on the European Institutions as well as the other partners active in the international development field to recognise and support the cooperative difference.”

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