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The three major issues discussed at the meeting were the Membership Strategy, the Development Strategy for Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) and the Organisational Review of ICA, a paper prepared by Edgar Parnell. The Council also adopted the Annual work plan and budget for Europe.
In the discussion the former priorities were reviewed and two of them were confirmed:
Members of the European Council discussed the paper thoroughly and took a firm position on several major issues raised in the review. This position was taken into consideration when drafting the Vision statement and Action plan for ICA, which was on the Agenda of the ICA Board meeting 12-13 April 1999.
Another important activity for 1999 will be to update the statistics on European co-operatives, which currently reflect the status on 31 December 1996. Member organisations will be requested to provide ICA with data related to 1998.
The Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel prolonged the secondment of Luc Balourdet with ICA Europe for this year. He continues to be in charge of special projects. He was responsible for preparing the analysis of the membership survey for the European Council meeting in Bilbao.
A special print of the "Rules for ICA Europe" has been prepared and is attached to this Bulletin.
For copies of both publications please contact: ICA DOCUMENTATION CENTRE, 15 route des Morillons, 1218 Grand-Saconnex, Geneva, Switzerland.
The ICA Board has scheduled to meet on 6-7 October while Specialised Bodies' meetings could be held before the Regional Assembly, on 2-3 October. A special issue of the Slovak Co-operative News will be distributed at the Quebec Congress, containing more details also on meeting facilities.
The European Council will meet in Berlin, Germany on 28-29 October 1999.
The ICA General Assembly and Congress will take place in Quebec, Canada on 30-31 August and 1 September 1999.
The Congress will focus on the topic « Adding value to membership », in other words, how co-operatives can demonstrate that they can provide useful services to their members. Three breakout sessions will complete the plenary meeting:
The General Assembly will discuss the Organisational Review of ICA as well as the Vision Statement and Action Plan for the future. Reports from the Youth Conference and the Women's Conference to be held prior to the General Assembly will also be submitted.
Most Specialised Organisations will meet on 28-29 August, with the exception of CICOPA and ICMIF which will hold their meetings after the Congress.
Two Canadian member organisations will be hosting the Congress. The local host is Desjardins, the large savings and credit co-operative movement celebrating its 100 years.
The Congress programme and registration forms were circulated in March. The meeting documentation will be mailed end of June. Further information is available on the ICA Web site: http://www.coop.org and from Vivianne Dubini, ICA Secretariat, phone: (41 22) 929 88 30, E-mail: email@example.com
The second business conference of Co-operative Organisations in the Black Sea area will be held on 2-6 June 1999, in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Agricultural co-operatives continue to play a major role in the Danish economy. Their current market share for various products is: butter - 98%, fur - 97%, pork - 96%, milk - 95%, cheese - 86%, and eggs 50%. Two-thirds of their production is exported.
Please let us know before 15 June if you are interested in
participating and/or contributing by a presentation of your case.
As deposit protection is a requirement of the EU, information is welcome on how
other countries tackle this problem. Please send any information to ICA Europe.
A group of experts is helping DGXXIII to draft the 30 page document. The group is made up of members of CMAF (the Commission's Consultative Committee on Co-operatives, Mutuals, Associations and Foundations). Among them are representatives of some of ICA member organisations and the sectoral associations in Brussels and more recently ICA Europe has also been invited to participate. An agreement was made that in terms of the definition of co-operatives, to be used in the White Paper, the co-operative principles adopted at the Manchester Congress of ICA in 1995 would be taken as a basis.
The group will meet again, in early May, before finalising the draft in June. The formal approval of the White Paper by the Commission is expected in September 1999.
More specifically, the ESF will be 're-aligned' to complement the Union's new European Employment Strategy. The Commission plans to target new ESF funding in five key areas: preventing people falling into the trap of long-term unemployment; making sure those on the margins of society are re-integrated into the labour market; developing the Union's education and training systems; promoting the development of a highly skilled and "adaptable" workforce; and more participation by women in the job market.
With this overall strategy in mind, the Commission wants the ESF to focus on local employment initiatives and plans to hand over the majority of the day-to-day management of schemes to national authorities. Money would be made available to fund training for individuals, to boost local job-creation organisations (be they state-backed, private or non-governmental bodies), and to back initiatives aimed at forging closer links between educational establishments and industry.
The report stresses, that women remain a tiny minority in the organs of power, and this at all levels. In the EU as a whole, women are most numerous in regional parliaments, 27.8% of whose members were women in 1998, marginally more than in the European Parliament, where they account for 26.8% of all MEPs. But the proportion falls to just 17.5% on average when it comes to the national parliaments, with very sharp differences between the various member states.
The Council of Europe is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Among a series of meetings and celebrations, the most important event from ICA's point of view will be a joint Parliamentary Assembly/ NGOs conference: "Market oriented society, democracy, citizenship and solidarity: an area or confrontation?" to be held 31 May - 1 June 1999 in Strasbourg. Further information is available from ROEP.
If you want to know more about the role and functions of the Council of Europe please read the article published in the ICA News, No 2/1998. A special web site provides information on the Anniversary events: http://www.coe.int/
The United Nations Secretary-General's Report: Status and role of Co-operatives in the light of new economic and social trends is now available on the UN web site at the following address:
The Guidelines aimed at creating a supportive environment for the development of co-operatives prepared by the Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Co-operatives (COPAC) are included as an annex to the report. The report will be considered at the 54th UN General Assembly this autumn.
The symposium is being held to review existing co-operative legislation and policies in countries with economies in transition. It will also examine the capacity for co-operatives to operate in the open market under existing co-operative and non-co-operative legislation. Case studies from successful co-operative organisations in Asia and selected ones from Eastern Europe will be presented.
For further information please contact:
All member organisations are requested to send us any relevant information they want to share with other members.
Please send correspondence to ICA EUROPE at the address below.
Deadline for receiving contributions for the next issue is 10 June 1999.
For more details on any of the topics mentioned in the Bulletin please write to:
Last updated: 7 August 2000 / Links updated 24 January 2002
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