EU Commission recognizes cooperative enterprises as Civil Society actors

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On September 12, 2012 the European Commission released the communication ‘The roots of democracy and sustainable development: Europe’s engagement with Civil Society in External relations’.

The communication defines Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) as a wide range of actors, with different roles and mandates, including membership-based, cause-based and service oriented organisations, and among them cooperative enterprises. This new approach embraces new actors and opens up to consultation tables on CSO policies to cooperative actors, as well as the possibilities of cooperation with the EU Institutions on this field.

The communication recognizes CSOs’ specific contribution to an inclusive and sustainable growth: “Association of cooperatives […] are particularly active in promoting entrepreneurship and job creations by mobilizing grassroots communities, delivering services and stimulating income generating activities for the poor and marginalized”. Further, it is stated that “the EU will support CSO initiatives and partnerships, which combine social and economic ambitions”. The communication continues emphasizing that “particular attention should be given to job creation and entrepreneurship responsive to community needs”. 

Klaus Niederländer, director of Cooperatives Europe, commented: “This latest communication of the EU recognizes the crucial role of cooperatives in development through job creation and the provision of social services. It also demonstrates that cooperatives are enterprises and civil society organizations at the same time.”


Read the full press release here.

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