General Assembly: Celebrating a cooperative decade

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On 20th April 2016, Cooperatives Europe celebrated its 10th Anniversary at the annual member meeting, held at Bibliotheque Solvay, in Brussels.  In his opening speech Dirk J.  Lehnhoff, President of Cooperatives Europe, highlighted the major achievements of Cooperatives Europe over the last 10 years  in becoming a recognised actor for representing cooperatives at European level. Monique Leroux, the newly elected President of the International Co-operative Alliance, called on European cooperators to unite, promote and develop the global cooperative movement further in her opening words. The opening session concluded with the first Cooperatives Europe honorary awards for Dame Pauline Green and Etienne Pflimlin as the founding Co-Presidents of Cooperatives Europe in recognition of their special contributions to the advancement of the European Cooperative Movement.

The time for celebration was linked with a time to reflect on the need for cooperation in today’s world – the Coop Member Exchange concentrated on the refugee challenge in Europe. Cooperatives from Sweden, Italy, Israel and Turkey presented their work and experience in working with refugees while MEP Stelios Kouloglou, Vice–Chair of the Development Committee, showcased cooperative examples of dealing with refugees in Greece.  The session also saw an intervention from the Cooperatives Europe Young Cooperators, who expressed their solidarity and support for refugees. Read the full press release on the member exchange here.

Members were also able to reflect on the past and present of Cooperatives Europe in the afternoon panel titled “where we were 10 years ago and where we are now”. The second panel outlined the highlights of 2015, including the Framework Partnership Agreement in development with the EU Commission.  A highlight of the Coop Reception was the official launch of the first European cooperative member statistics report “Cooperatives Europe Key Figures 2015”– The Power of Cooperation”.

We would like to thank all participants, meeting contributors and members for the fruitful exchanges and for the memorable celebrations of this first decade for Cooperatives Europe. All photos are available here.

Download the opening speech from President Dirk J. Lehnhoff.

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