EU Council recognises the role of cooperatives in achieving more successful development partnerships
On 12th December, European Foreign Affairs Council adopted a second set of conclusions on the role of the private sector in international development. The document follows the EU Commission’s communication ‘A stronger role of the private sector in achieving inclusive and sustainable growth in developing countries’, released on 13th May 2014, and the first set of Council conclusions, published on 24th June 2014.
Cooperatives Europe welcomes the Council’s particular attention to support access to capital and long term financing for cooperatives and social enterprises. We also appreciate that “the Council encourages the Commission, Members States and EFIs to improve MSMEs’ access to financial services, and particularly to support the social and economic empowerment of women and youth.”
Cooperatives Europe shares the European Council’s view that “the Commission and the Member States should have a differentiated approach taking into account the type and the size of the private enterprise involved”, and that they should “work together to support the replication and scaling up of inclusive business models” in partnership with civil society.
As people-centred businesses, cooperatives make a strong contribution to job creation, inclusiveness and poverty reduction through their business model of democratic ownership and decision-making. We are therefore pleased to see that economic and social standards are part of the principles and criteria set by the Commission and endorsed by the Council today as a framework to create successful partnerships.
Klaus Niederländer, Director of Cooperatives Europe, said: “We welcome the EU Foreign Affairs Council’s conclusions and particularly the specific reference to the cooperative business model. We hope that these recommendations will achieve stronger and more successful partnerships in international development. We believe that private sector players using inclusive business models such as cooperatives can make a strong contribution to sustainable development and we will continue our work with the EU Institutions and stakeholders."