Call for an European plan for the development of the ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY

Call for an European plan for the development of the ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY

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Stefano Patrizi ha lanciato questa petizione e l'ha diretta a Ursula von der Leyen (President of the European Commission)

We ask to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen for a major plan for the development of cooperatives and their capitalization.

There must be economic democracy and political democracy at the same time, otherwise there is no democracy.

According to some of the most important international institutions, the cooperative form of business is the one that can contribute most to direct economic and social development towards the goal of sustainability and respect for human rights.

The European Union, founded and governed by political forces in whose DNA is grafted the constitution and development of the democratic enterprise, at what point is it compared to the practical implementation of the promotion of cooperation?

The policies for the development of the cooperative enterprise have up to now been, to varying degrees, the prerogative of the individual European states, even if their rules in general respect the cooperative values and principles set out in the "Declaration on international cooperative identity" (adopted in 1995 by the International Cooperative Alliance, supported by a United Nations resolution and taken up in a recommendation from the International Labor Organization [1]). Specifically, a varied picture is presented, also with regard to fundamental aspects such as taxation, the destination of the wealth produced, public instruments for development and promotion.

Within the European Union, the only legislation on the matter was that concerning the "European cooperative society", which intended to create a homogeneous legal framework within which to give the possibility of developing cooperatives recognized throughout the European territory [2 ]. To date, however, this does not seem to have obtained satisfactory practical feedback.

For the rest, the EU, throughout its history, has dealt with cooperative companies with sporadic and generic communications from the European Commission to the European Parliament regarding promotion [3].

In a 2004 communication, the actions on which the Commission undertook concerned the evaluation of support for the policies of cooperative organizations and Member States for raising awareness of the potential of the cooperative form, the possibility of organizing exchanges of information and experiences, the development of techniques for data collection and analysis, the adoption of measures for the participation of cooperatives in training and learning programs, the evaluation of the possibility of including a specific reference to cooperatives in the financial instruments managed by the European Investment Fund, the care for full access by cooperatives to Community calls, to in-depth analysis with the Member States of the implementation of the rules on the SCE.

In the 2011 communication, however, the Commission takes a more specific orientation, inserting the type of cooperative enterprise in the broader case of the "social enterprise" understood as an enterprise for which: the social or socio-cultural objective of common interest is raison d'être of the commercial action, the profits are mainly reinvested in the realization of this social objective, the organization modalities or the ownership system reflect the mission as they are based on democratic or participatory principles or social justice. As regards the more concrete actions, from this perspective, the commitment is aimed at creating a European regulatory framework for solidarity investment funds, the creation of a European financial instrument of 90 million euros, an investment priority " social enterprises "of the ERDF and ESF regulations, identify good practices and reproducible models and strengthen exchanges of information, simplify the regulation of the SCE, in the reform of public procurement enhance the quality in the award of contracts and evaluate how to take into account working conditions of people.

The contribution of the Intergroup on Social Economy of the European Parliament [4] comes along this line in 2017, where the priorities identified are the construction of a European regulatory framework, strengthening its visibility, creating a system suitable for the development of the social economy through support for access to finance and full operations in the Single Market, create support services for start-ups and digital strengthening.

An interesting contribution in identifying possible European policy lines for the development of cooperation was presented as a report following the General Assembly of Cooperatives Europe in April 2015 [5], the result of the joint work of the Commission Services and Cooperatives Europe. Summary document that focuses attention on the need to give impetus to the strengthening and mapping of the cooperative culture in the school and university curricula of the Member States, on the need to ensure the access of cooperatives to existing European funding programs and mechanisms, as well as the development of legislation that favors the development of non-bank financial intermediaries dedicated to cooperation, the involvement of the European Investment Bank and the European Investment Fund, insist that all national cooperative organizations can develop dedicated and funded funds by profits of cooperatives such as in France, Italy or Spain, act so that local authorities promote support and consultancy services for the creation of cooperatives in all territories.

In light of the above and considering the importance of the cooperative form in the quality of civil and economic development, demonstrated by the many analyzes carried out on the communities and territories where it has developed [6], the practical activity of the European Union in promoting cooperation ended in some good mission statements and some analysis. Far too little for a continent that intends to be at the forefront of the world in promoting sustainable development and human rights.

 [1] Resolution 56/114 approved at the 88th plenary session of the United Nations General Assembly on December 19, 2001, recommendation 193 on the promotion of cooperatives of the 90th session of the International Labor Conference on June 20, 2002.

[2] Council Regulation (EC) 1435/2003, of 22 July 2003, relating to the statute of the European cooperative society; Council Directive 2003/72 / EC of 22 July 2003, which specifies the involvement of workers in the statute of the European cooperative society.

[3] Brussels, 23.2.2004 COM (2004) 18; Brussels, 25.10.2011 COM (2011) 682.

[4] The future of EU policies for the social economy: towards a european action plan. EEA, 24/10/2017.

[5] “Fostering cooperatives' potential to generate smart growth and jobs”.

[6] The Emilian Model - Profile of a Cooperative Economy, John Restakis, 2007.

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