Cooperatives Europe response to the consultation on developing framework conditions for the social economy

At the end of last month, Cooperatives Europe responded to the public consultation on developing an enabling environment for the social economy. This consultation aimed at gathering evidence from social economy organisations and relevant stakeholders for an upcoming Council Recommendation. Announced as a key measure in the Social Economy Action Plan, this Recommendation should help Member States to better adapt their policies and laws to the specific needs of the social economy, in all relevant fields.

After consulting its members, Cooperatives Europe highlighted several key elements in its responses, the first one being the full recognition of cooperatives in all Member States. Despite heterogeneous traditions and differing socio-economic contexts, we call for ICA’s cooperative values and principles to be recognised as common features of the cooperative business model across Europe.

We also called for cooperatives’ specificities to be recognised in the EU competition and taxation framework. Their specific operating principles, management logic and other restrictions lead to different treatments across Member States, which is not always fully understood in EU taxation or state-aid policies. In that regard, the Commission’s guidelines for interpretations of cooperatives’ place in EU competition laws would be very welcome

Finally, our response pushed for better access to finance and greater emphasis on education on cooperative entrepreneurship. Given the benefits they bring to their community (decent employment, social cohesion, democracy), we believe all Member States should include cooperatives entrepreneurship in business education as part of their national curricula for schools and tertiary education, with the help of the Commission’s coordination and stakeholders’ involvement.

Read our position here.

 

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