PR: New EU development policy: Cooperatives Europe’s call for putting people-centred organisations first


On 22 November, the European Commission presented its proposals for new development policies foreseen to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

A first Communication on the next steps for a sustainable European future, accompanied by a Staff Working Document, provides an overview of the current and future actions of the Commission for the successful implementation of the SDGs. A second Communication on a Proposal for a new European Consensus on Development suggests a common vision and framework for development cooperation both for the EU and its Member States, in accordance with the 2030 Agenda. A third Communication on a renewed partnership with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries proposes the beginning of a new phase in EU-ACP relations after the end of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement in 2020. 

Cooperatives Europe welcomes the recognition of cooperatives in the key European actions for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, as means to achieve inclusive and sustainable economic growth (SDG8). We also welcome the commitment of the EU to “support the development of a competitive local private sector including by building local institutional and business capacity, by promoting SMEs, cooperatives, inclusive business models…”, recognising the impact of cooperatives at the local level.

Nevertheless, we regret the omission within the EU Consensus to acknowledge the different types of private sector actors and to highlight the importance of people-centered and membership based organisations, such as cooperatives. Moreover, this communication fails to reflect the diversity of actors within Civil Society, as previously defined in the Communication ‘Europe’s engagement with Civil Society’ from 2012. Therefore, Cooperatives Europe calls on the European Institutions to ensure that the diversity of actors keeps being well reflected and urges to prioritise on people-centred organisations to ensure a sustainable social and economic development.

Agnés Mathis, Director of Cooperatives Europe, commented “We remain committed in our engagement with EU Institutions to advance the implementation of the SDGs and we are looking forward to strengthen together an inclusive and sustainable economic development across the globe.”

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