The time has come for a cooperative Europe


Dirk J. Lehnhoff, President of Cooperatives Europe, participated on Tuesday 8th April in a roundtable organised by the Emilia Romagna regional federation of the Alliance of Italian Cooperatives, where he met several Italian candidates to the next European Elections. In his speech he highlighted how “the sole focus of the EU on competition over the last 20 years has made Europe weaker, more socially divided and has not created the sustainable jobs that politicians had promised”.

“While a certain degree of competition is a necessary prerequisite for a sustainable economy – he continued – it must focus on the needs and aspirations of the citizens and not on preserving power and control of a few companies and sectors. Europe has forgotten about the need for cooperation – working together for a common objective or purpose.”

President Lehnhoff outlined how cooperatives in Europe are working with EU Institutions, in order to promote a more diverse Europe, where cooperatives can play their economic and societal role . He mentioned the European Cooperative Roadmap, on which Cooperatives Europe is working with EU Commission Vice-President Tajani, and which will be  launched in the second half of 2014 under the Italian Presidency of the EU Council.

Additionally, President Lehnhoff presented the ‘Cooperative manifesto’, which contains the priorities of European cooperatives for the next EU elections. He said: “We need a level playing field with other forms of business, in particular shareholding companies, which have been overdominating via liberalisation and deregulation over the last thirty years. We also need to educate our young people that there are businesses, which are based on cooperation and we need to provide the respective business support to cooperative enterprises for set-up and development.’

‘2014 will be a crucial year – concluded President Lehnhoff – in promoting cooperatives in Europe, but also in voting for a democratically controlled, autonomous, people-centred and cooperative European Union.’

Click on the link below and read the whole speech.

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