A New Greek economy – Empowering Greek citizens through member-owned and democratically controlled enterprises

Greece EU

The Greek Euro tragedy has occupied media space for months and years now. At the same time Greek citizens all round the country, be it in Athens, Thessaloniki, Pelopponnese or Epirus, have either lost their job or saw their work income reduced by more than a quarter while public services for health and education have constantly deteriorated. A climate of great disappointment about Greek politics and society and worst of all, a climate of mistrust in general seems to reign within Greece.

In this context 30 participants from cooperative enterprises, associations and research organisations across Greece came together in Athens on March 6 on invitation by the KAPA Network from Ioannina and Cooperatives Europe. This very collaborative and interactive workshop developed a straight forward strategy for cooperative development in Greece based on:

A Political Agenda for Cooperatives in Greece, in order to develop

  •  A modern general cooperative law as the umbrella for all sectoral cooperative laws
  • A regional cooperative business support network
  •  A Cooperative Association as Representative of all Cooperatives in Greece

A Business Agenda for Cooperative Development in Greece focusing on

  • Capacity Building of Cooperative Enterprises
  • Financing of cooperative enterprises

Klaus Niederländer, Director of Cooperatives Europe, and contributor in the workshop, comments: ‘Cooperatives are a tool for empowerment of people, especially in times of crisis, by working together to achieve common goals and thereby creating or rebuilding trust between people. There was an air of ‘sharing’ in this workshop in Athens and of never giving up. If everyone focuses on the 80% we have all in common in our needs and aspirations, then there will be no problem with the 20% of differences. On the contrary those 20% will contribute to the various answers to be found for building a strong cooperative economy in Greece.

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