EU's COVID-19 recovery plan to support cooperatives

Thursday, 28 May 2020 - 2:00pm

Cooperatives Europe welcomes European Commission’s ambitious recovery plan that should support the potential of all cooperatives and social economy enterprises.

The Next Generation EU instrument of €750 million and the Multiannual Financial Framework MFF for 2021-2027 that was presented on 27th of May at the European Parliament should address the immediate economic and social damage brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and kickstart a sustainable recovery, in line with the European strategic priorities (such as the European Green Deal and Digital Agenda).

Cooperatives Europe welcomes that in its proposal, the European Commission recognises that the social economy – including cooperatives as key actors – is suffering tremendous economic impact due to the pandemic, as confirmed in our ongoing survey. We however remind that cooperatives, as competitive enterprises active in competitive markets, are affected in all sectors with activities not exclusively limited to social prospects. Reitirating the Commission’s statement, which is aligned with our advocacy actions, “a strong social economy can offer unique opportunities to help most vulnerable (but not exclusively) to return to the labour market”, including young people.

The package should ensure a stable, long-term funding source accessible to all economic actors. As stated in our position paper “Cooperatives Europe’s position on COVID-19 crisis response and looking forward,” cooperatives are an economic tool to respond to the needs of the European citizens that own them. Therefore, the specific structure of cooperatives should not be an obstacle to benefit from the funding support instruments put in place for helping businesses recover from the crisis. The SME strategy and the upcoming Action Plan for the Social Economy should be fully part of the recovery.

Cooperatives Europe’s Director, Agnes Mathis, commented: “Commission’s initiative is a strong signal given that when acting in solidarity, the European Union can provide support and ensure a sustainable economy and social development for the future. The crisis put forward the necessity to support local and sustainable production and to ensure essential social services. This is the reason why people-centred enterprises such as cooperatives should be fully part of the recovery tools.