Cooperatives Europe Welcomes Professor Petar Stefanov as New President 

On May 24th, Professor Petar Stefanov President of CCU Bulgaria was elected as the new President of Cooperatives Europe for a one-year term. The election took place during the Cooperatives Europe annual General Assembly in Brussels hosted by Febecoop.

The other candidates for President were Thomas Meyer (Coop FR) from France and Vivian Woodell (Co-operatives UK) from the UK.

Professor Stefanov’s election comes after the resignation of Susanne Westhausen, who had to step down due to health issues. Susanne served as President of Cooperatives Europe for three years, and her leadership was marked by significant contributions to the movement. Professor Stefanov will complete the remaining one-year term of her presidency.

In his address to the Assembly, Professor Stefanov outlined 12 pillars for the further development of Cooperatives Europe:

  1. EU Parliament 2024-2029 
    To engage the “COOP Supporters” committing to promote our movement with concrete actions.
  2. 2025 UN IYC 
    To unify members’ efforts to promote the emphasizing slogan “Cooperatives Build a Better World”.
  3. Implementation of the Second ICA-EU Partnership Agreement 2024-2029 
    To cooperate for the success of the project and to utilize the funds for members’ benefits.
  4. Social Economy Europe  
    To join Social Economy Europe as a partner and position the cooperative business model as a driver of economic and social progress in Europe.
  5. Best cooperative practices 
    To undertake national and sectoral leaders’ meetings to exchange good practices and initiatives, guaranteeing membership value.
  6. Youth 
    To raise youth’s interest in career growth and participation in the governance bodies of cooperatives, and promoting the cooperative model in new business spheres and digitalization.
  7. COOP database 
    To develop a COOP database with business evaluation criteria and to formulate a vision of the sustainable cooperative for the next 10 years.
  8. Legislation 
    To improve cooperative legislation, guaranteeing the stable and predictable environment for cooperatives in all the European countries
  9. Budget 
    A new budgeting approach for Cooperatives Europe. To look for new members and to develop the added-value of the organization.
  10. Vision & Strategy 
    To restore Cooperatives Europe’s influence in Europe. To look for a stable position with a vision and strategy in coordination with other cooperative bodies; specifically with ICA in view of maintaining a coordinated international and intercontinental action.
  11. Public Affairs 
    To invest in strategic relationships with EU Institutions as active cooperative members of the European Union.
  12. Reinforce the good relationships among cooperative organisations across  
    To re-establish stable relations among all members of Cooperatives Europe so that it becomes the meeting point for all the cooperative families of different regions (North-South-East-West).

The delegates at the General Assembly and the Board of Cooperatives Europe expressed support for Professor Stefanov’s priorities. The team will work at both national and European levels to organise events and implement projects that will prepare European cooperative organizations for the celebration of the UN’s Second International Year of Cooperatives in 2025, among other initiatives.

We are excited to embark on this new chapter under the leadership of Professor Petar Stefanov and, led by a shared vision, look forward to achieving our collective goals for the cooperative movement in Europe.

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