#EU60: Towards a new vision

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Recognised by the historic Treaty of Rome (1957), European cooperatives today benefit 1 out of 5 Europeans. They are anchored by their core values of democracy, freedom, responsibility, accountability and solidarity – values also shared by the European Union. For this very reason, cooperatives join the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty that laid the foundations to the Europe of today.

Cooperatives look beyond the world that is currently challenged by tensions, sharing a model that can only be described as ‘united in diversity’. European citizens instil life into this Community, where fundamental rights, protection of the poorest, collective security, innovation, respect for nature and international peace cooperation prevail, transforming it into a thriving area of progress that is somehow unique in this world. A place where citizens are proud to call Europe their home.

Though economic, social and cultural challenges have never been greater, Europe can, and must face them with an approach that is not inherently inward-looking, as well as with an open mind. The time has come to give a new impetus and to take strong action in shaping solidarity and a new ambition for Europe. This new vision must begin with a unified Social Pillar (encompassing employment, health and housing), renewed democracy, investment that looks to the future and ensuring a Europe that is actively involved in this world.

Experiencing the core EU values on a daily basis in their own enterprises, the men and women who make up the cooperatives believe that such vision is not only necessary, but they are determined to commit themselves to make it a reality.

On behalf of all of us at Cooperatives Europe, I wish you peaceful celebrations. 

Dirk J. Lehnhoff

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