Greece is not on sale: supporting a cooperative economy owned by Greeks

On 19th November 2012 Cooperatives Europe participated in a conference in Ioannina, Greece, on promoting the cooperative enterprise model, organised by Kapa Network and the Ioannina University. In these times of crisis, there is a growing interest in collectively owned enterprises, which are rooted in local communities and which create and maintain local employment.

Cooperatives Europe has been working on promoting cooperatives in Greece during the international year of cooperatives and can now rely on institutional and local partners such as the Kapa network. Kapa is a group of experts, who sees cooperatives as an opportunity for Greece to get out of its current economic and social crisis.

Lucas Mprecha, co-founder of the Kapa network, said: “Greece is not on sale. Cooperatives can help the Greek economy to get up onto their feet again and avoid being sold off to financial investors at knockdown prices. Local communities are starting to organise themselves to do business, satisfy their needs and create employment. We want to support them in this process through promoting cooperatives.”

“We are convinced that cooperatives are an opportunity for Greece and for its people – said Klaus Niederländer, director of Cooperatives Europe – The Troika’s rescue packages are only keeping the old dying Greek public system alive, while not paying enough attention to support the rebuilding of the Greek economy in a sustainable manner: this new economy is spreading locally, but requires support to gain critical mass. The cooperative economy is part of that solution! And support is necessary to develop the right legislative framework, to provide cooperative development support and to finance the local real economy. This is why we are working hard to promote the creation of an enabling environment for cooperatives.”

“We are working with our member organisations to support developing a modern general law for cooperatives in Greece. In addition, we are collaborating with Greek regional networks to create cooperative development centres, which will provide support services to new and existing cooperatives. It is our objective to get the EU actively engaged in these efforts, which will cost much less to all than the current bailout packages”

Interest in cooperatives is increasing also among Greek media. Cooperatives Europe representatives delivered several interviews to national and regional TV broadcasters during their visit (you can watch the video here).

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