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ICA Europe Bulletin







European Presidium

The Chairman, the two Vice-chairs and the Regional Director of ICA Europe met in Bratislava on 18-19 January 2000. They discussed the need for the regionalisation of the ICA budget as activities have already been regionalised since 1994, they agreed on the European work plan and budget for 2000 and accepted the proposed agenda for the next European Council meeting. According to the mandate received from the European Council, the Presidium made a decision on the topic of the Regional Assembly and on the organisation of the Seminar sessions and a detailed proposal will be submitted to the next European Council meeting in March.

Preparations for the Regional Assembly

An agreement has been signed between the Slovak Union of Co-operatives and ICA Europe on sharing responsibilities and costs in organising the Regional Assembly in Bratislava 2-7 October 2000. The schedule of meetings announced so far is included in the calendar, page 8 of this Bulletin. The invitation together with the registration forms and the agenda will be posted to all European members in April.

The main theme proposed for the Regional Assembly is "Successful co-operative business in the new Europe". Discussion groups will address various aspects of successes and failures.

Finance Committee

The newly appointed Finance Committee of the ICA Board met in Geneva on 22-23 January 2000. The Committee reviewed the draft 1999 financial report and approved the ICA's overall budget for the year 2000. For the first time the ICA's workplan and budget have been developed on the basis of the ICA's seven priorities as defined by the Finance Committee at its previous meeting: membership, international standing, links with the Specialised Bodies, information and communications, development, new initiatives, and institutional maintenance.

The Committee also reviewed the Resolution sent to the Board by ICA's European Council, which proposes a "regionalisation" of the ICA budget. Committee members spent considerable time on this complex matter, and asked board member Lloyd Wilkinson to prepare a discussion paper proposing various options in order to pursue the issue at the next meeting of the Finance Committee in April.

Council of Europe

The Liaison Committee of the Non-Governmental Organisations enjoying consultative status with the Council of Europe had partial elections at its annual plenary conference on 26 January 2000 in Strasbourg. The Liaison Committee is made up of 25 members out of which nine seats became vacant. ICA having official status for two years presented its candidature and was elected as member out of 21 candidates. The representative will be Gabriella Sozánski and the substitute Luc Balourdet. At present there are some 400 NGOs with consultative status with the CoE.

The new President of the NGO Liaison Committee, elected at the plenary meeting, is Daniel Zielinski, who has been chairing the working group on civil society involved in activities in Central and Eastern Europe. The theme highlighting the activities of the Liaison Committee proposed for year 2000 is "Towards a sharing economy".

ICA Europe intends to strengthen collaboration with the CoE in working with Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs) and in activities benefiting youth, but also in questions relating to social development and gender equality.




The Belgian Federation of Co-operatives (FEBECOOP) has launched Echos Febecoop, a monthly bilingual (French-Flemish) newsletter on the activities of co-operatives in Belgium. For further information on this publication please contact Mme Godaert, Tel: (32 2) 500 52 23, Fax: (32 2) 502 71 61 Email: febecoop@skynet.be


Responding to a request from the National Union of Co-operative Banks (KZBS) in Poland, the Crédit Mutuel presented its organisation and operation during the Board meeting of the KZBS, to which twenty members of the Polish Parliament were invited.

At a time when the laws which govern co-operative banking in Poland are about to be reviewed, the idea was to present and explain a successful co-operative organisation.

Following a conference on the theme of Youth in Co-operative Entreprises organised by the Groupement National des Coopératives (GNC) last November, a special issue of the newsletter, "La Lettre du GNC", was published in January 2000. This issue discusses examples of co-operatives run by or for young co-operators and contains valuable information on the involvement of youth in co-operatives.

For further information please contact Mme Michčle Tixador-Lebrun at: La Lettre du GNC, Tel: (33 1) 42 93 59 59, Fax: (33 1) 42 93 55 95, Email: gnc@cooperatives.org


The Institute for Co-operation in Developing Countries (ICDC) of the Department of Economics of Philipps-University, Marburg, is announcing a two-year Master's Programme in Co-operative Economics, beginning October 2000.

To register on the course, there is a requirement of a first academic degree in economics or relevant recognised qualifications and proof of knowledge of the German language. Scholarships for the course are also available.

Candidates not applying for a scholarship should submit their application to the Office for International Students and Study Abroad, Philipps-University, Biegenstr. 10, D-35032, Marburg, no later than 1July 2000. Further information is available at: Fax: (49 6421) 282 89 98, and Email: Komm@verwaltung.uni-marburg.de

The German co-operative movement has published a pamphlet (in German, English and French) "The co-operative organisation in the Federal Republic of Germany", which explains the movement and its development in Germany. For more details on this pamphlet please contact the Deutscher Genossenschafts- und Raiffeisenverband e.V. (DGRV), Tel: (49 228) 106 221/222, Fax: (49 228) 106 266, Email: dgrv@raiffeisen.de

Also available at DGRV are the latest statistical figures on the DGRV for 1998, "Zahlen und Fakten - DGRV - 1999"


The National Federation of Agricultural Co-operators and Producers (MOSZ), which is the biggest agrarian federation in Hungary, held its 3rd Congress in Budapest, on 30 November 1999. The Congress was attended by more than one thousand delegates representing co-operatives, farmers and agricultural business associations. Delegates re-elected Mr. Tamás Nagy, President and Mr. Gábor Horváth, General Secretary for another 5 years.

The Congress addressed the Hungarian Government and requested that it stops the political, economic and legal discrimination against the Hungarian production-type co-operatives, that it ceases the differentiation between old and new co-operatives in providing government support and that it establishes a fair tax and social insurance system applying equally to all agricultural producers. Delegates also claimed more budget allocation from the government for agricultural development.

Participants of the Congress expressed their conviction that the high requirements of the Common Agricultural Policy of the EU could only be met through more co-operation and integration among farmers.


Confcooperative and a delegation from the All China Federation of Supply and Marketing Co-operatives met in Rome on 20 December 1999. The purpose of the meeting was to explore collaboration opportunities between the two national organisations. The tourism sector was the main field that was chosen for future collaboration.

An agreement between the Confcooperative's National Federation of Co-operative Banks Federcasse/Iccrea Holding, the Rabobank and the DG Bank was signed in Italy last December. The three co-operative bank groups represent jointly 3,250 banks, 24,200 outlets, 15 million individual members and 40 million customers. Total deposits amount to 550 billion Euros and loans amount to 490 billion Euros.

The agreement, which anticipates future involvement of other similar structures existing in Europe, aims to create a European central institute for co-operative credit banks.

At the beginning of December, Luigi Marino, President of Confcooperative and Felice Scalvini, Vice president, met with Etienne Pflimlin, the new President of CCACE. The meeting aimed at exchanging views on CCACE's role and structure.

Mr. Carmelo Azzarŕ, President of the Institute for Co-operative Studies "Luigi Luzzatti" died 7 December 1999, aged 65. Under his chairmanship, the Luzzatti Institute has developed several programmes promoting co-operative culture, on both national and European levels. Among the most important programmes, was the foundation of a Diploma in Co-operative Economy at the Bologna University, and the creation of the National Observatory on Co-operatives.


The new National Co-operative Council (NCC) elected by the 2nd Congress of the Polish co-operative movement held its first meeting on 1 December 1999 and elected Mr. Alfred Domagalski as chairman of the NCC's General Assembly, Mr. Jerzy Jankowski as chairman of the Board and Mr. Stanislaw Stec as chairman of the Audit Committee.


The Co-operative Union has appointed Ms. Pauline Green as new Chief-Executive. Ms. Green has previously worked in the Co-op Union Parliamentary Office as a lobbyist on European affairs before being elected as Member of the European Parliament (MEP), a position which she held for ten years until December 1999. She is currently President of the Industrial Common Ownership Movement (ICOM). Ms. Green who took up her position on 1 January 2000, is the first woman to hold this position in the Co-operative Union's 133-year history. She is replacing Mr. Lloyd Wilkinson who had been CEO since 1974.

The Central Executive of the Co-operative Union has put forward proposals for restructuring the organisation. The proposed changes involve concentrating on three main activities:

The Central Executive has approved several cost-cutting measures, notably the transfer to CWS of industrial relations and Parliamentary office staff and the ending of the Union's publishing and bookselling role.


The World Council of Credit Unions has appointed Mr. R. Arthur Arnold from the Netherlands as their new chief executive. With over 30 years experience in the financial services industry, and currently the Director of Strategic Alliances and Corporate Communications at Rabobank Nederland, Mr. Arnold's appointment with WOCCU has taken effect as from 1 February 2000.



The ICA Global Forum, being an opportunity for ICA members to meet between the General Assemblies, will this time be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 5-7 December 2000. Many Specialised Bodies will also meet on the days preceding the Global Forum. The proposed topic of the plenary session is "How co-ops have benefited from globalisation".

A registration form for ICA members will be posted on the ICA web site by the end of February or will be available from Mats Ahnlund in the Head Office: Tel: (41 22) 929 88 29, Fax: (41 22) 798 41 22, Email: members@coop.org

The new promotional brochure of ICA's Development Programme has been completed and is available from head office and regional and project offices.

The first issue of the ICA Electronic Newsletter is now on line. It is a new feature of ICA's global communications programme in 2000. E-News is a monthly report on recent developments within ICA and of events by and affecting ICA members. You can access it from: http://www.coop.org/ and then click on "ICA E-news for members".

Please visit the new web site of the ICA Human Resources Development Committee for information on HRD meetings and activities: http://www.coop.org/hrd

The Consumer Co-op International (CCI) and members of the CCI Working Group for Electronic Shopping are organising a seminar on Electronic Shopping in Stockholm, Sweden on 10 April 2000. The Working Group for Food Quality will be meeting in Dublin, Ireland on 15-17 June 2000.

For further information on these meetings and other activities of the CCI please contact Mats Ahnlund, Secretary-General of the CCI. Tel: (41 22) 929 88 29, Fax: (41 22) 798 41 22, Email: members@coop.org

CICOPA held its executive committee meeting in Geneva on 8 December 1999. Main issues on the agenda were the decision on the date and venue of the next World Conference which will be held in Seoul, Korea in late October 2001 as well as a thorough discussion about CICOPA membership fees and their distribution among regions.



Policy document on strategic objectives - The European Commission has agreed a key policy document outlining the strategic objectives that will guide its work over the next five years. It argues that the need for Europe has never been greater: democracy needs strengthening within the EU; instability beyond the EU is compelling it to act decisively in foreign affairs; globalisation is changing the way we communicate and do business, many people feel disenfranchised; meanwhile people's daily lives are compounded by concerns over the food they eat or the air they breathe. More than ever before, collective problems require united responses, especially when public faith in the EU is low. The paper outlines the Commission's answer to these challenges under four key headings: creating new forms of European governance, giving Europe a stronger voice in the world, promoting a new economic and social agenda, and improving quality of life.

The new Enterprise DG has been created, with effect from 1 January 2000, by merging the old directorates-general for industry, SMEs, and the innovation directorate from the Information Society DG. Mr. Fabio Colasanti has been appointed as Director General. One of the seven directorates is in charge of Promotion of entrepreneurship and SMEs headed by Mr. Lorimer Mackenzie. Under this directorate there is a unit responsible for co-operatives, mutuals and new forms of entrepreneurship. Headed by Mr. Ole Guldberg, this unit is in charge of:

The NGO Forum Citizen's Agenda 2000 held in Tampere on 3-5 December 1999, brought together some 1500 people representing NGOs, as well as national and European institutions to discuss a wide range of issues, principally in the social and development field, and with the aim of preparing a Declaration from the NGO Community to be presented to the Helsinki Council. This Declaration was presented to the Finnish Prime Minister, Mr Lipponen, at the close of the conference.

The Portuguese Secretary of State for European Affairs reacted favourably to the proposal in the declaration that the key role played by the NGOs should be acknowledged in the Inter-Governmental Conference.

Commission study on the future of Europe - A major study has been prepared examining how Europe is going to look in the year 2010. This Futures Project study examines the key driving forces of change that will affect our daily life and society over the next ten years and includes information and communication technologies, the single currency, globalisation, the ageing population, increased health cost and educational investments, enlargement, and environmental changes.

A White Paper on Food Safety has been adopted by the European Commission. The central goal of the Commission is the achievement of the highest possible level of health protection for the consumers of Europe's food. The White Paper sets out a radical reform plan: a major programme of legislative reform is proposed to complete the EU's "farm to table" approach as well as the establishment of a new European Food authority. The document is available on the web site: http://europa.eu.int/ under "What's New".

The Enlargement DG has been set up headed by Director-General Nikolaus van der Pas. The six accession countries' teams report directly to him, while the other teams of the seven candidate countries report to the head of pre-accession co-ordination, Catherine Day. The Taiex office (see below) is now attached to the same department.

TAIEX, the Technical Assistance Information Exchange Office is a Commission Office supported by a PHARE multi-country programme. It was set up in January 1996 to provide the Associated Countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) with technical assistance. Whereas, in the past, the scope of assistance was limited to legislation related to the Single Market, its mandate has been extended in Agenda 2000 to cover all aspects of EU legislation, i.e. the entire Community Acquis. Its services are complementary to the services already offered by other relevant PHARE programmes.

You can learn more about TAIEX from their web site where information is available in twelve languages: http://www.taiex.be/ or from Mrs Bridget Czarnota, the Head of the Office in Brussels: Tel: (32 2) 2967307, Fax: (32 2) 2966840.

A new TACIS Regulation on the provision of assistance to the partner States in Eastern Europe and Central Asia has taken effect. The Regulation sets the framework for Euro 3.138 billion of assistance over the next seven years (2000-2006). The countries covered by the regulation are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mongolia, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

The European Commissioner for Agriculture, Franz Fischler, examined the new challenges for the future development of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), during a speech at the Annual Conference of the National Farmers Union (NFU) in London, the principal farming union in the United Kingdom. "The EU is daily castigated for its over-protected and over-subsidised agricultural sector", Mr Fischler said. However the critics never recognise that two major policy reforms have been carried out in less than a decade and that the EU fully respects the World Trade Organisation (WTO) commitment. The WTO has to work transparently and the Civil Society must be involved into the decision-making process.

The European Commission has adopted a communication on the financial management of the new agricultural pre-accession instrument SAPARD (Special Accession Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development). The Commission envisages a decentralised management of the 520 million Euros of EU funds. Therefore, each candidate country will have to establish a SAPARD agency. The Commission will put forward a formal implementing regulation.

European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs, Anna Diamantopoulou, has outlined plans to intensify the European Union's gender equality policy and boost participation of women in the workforce and political life. The outline marks a new approach to sex equality in the EU. It seeks notably to build equality into other policy areas and to cement this by setting targets and measuring progress achieved. Plans for a new programme will now be discussed with the European Parliament, NGOs and other interested parties before a formal proposal is put to the Council for approval.



UN Guidelines on Co-operatives - The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution entitled "Cooperatives and Social Development" (A/RES/54/123) on 17 December 1999. This resolution falls just short of adopting the Guidelines elaborated by COPAC. Instead it welcomes the draft and requests UN member states to provide their views on the draft and provide, if necessary, a revised version of the Guidelines for adoption at the 56th General Assembly in 2001.

This means that further lobbying of the national co-operative organisations is necessary with their government in order to obtain their support. The full text of the resolution will be available through the COPAC web site: http://www.copacgva.org/guidelines-progress.htm

ILO Recommendation - Adopted in 1966 the ILO Recommendation No. 127 concerns the role of Co-operatives in the Economic and Social Development of Developing Countries, and is the only ILO standard addressing co-operative issues in a comprehensive manner. In March of 1999 the ILO Governing Body agreed to revise the Recommendation No. 127.

A background paper from ILO has been prepared and is currently being circulated to all member governments. On the basis of their reactions a second paper is to be circulated in December. The first discussion on the topic will take place in June 2001 at the ILO Conference. The actual drafting of a new Recommendation will begin if the Conference's outcome is positive. The new text will then be presented to the Conference in 2002 for final decision.

The ILO needs support from all national co-operative organisations to lobby their government during the next two years.

ICA to participate in Beijing +5 - The Beijing +5 will be a Special Session of the UN General Assembly entitled "Women: 2000: Gender Equality, Development and Peace for the Twenty-First Century" (5-9 June 2000, New York). The Special Session will review and assess the progress achieved in the implementation of the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women, adopted in 1985, and the Beijing Platform for Action adopted at the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. It will also consider future actions and initiatives for the year 2000 and beyond.

The Chair of the ICA Global Women's Committee and Director of UN/NGO Relations will bring a report on actions taken by the ICA and its members in implementing the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action to the meeting.

COPAC Open Forum: Cooperatives and Job Creation - The Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives will hold an Open Forum during the week of the UN Special Session of the General Assembly on the Implementation of the Outcome of the World Summit for Social Development (26-30 June 2000, Geneva). The COPAC meeting will be open to all interested. Further information on the meeting will be available in the next few weeks on the COPAC web site: http://www.copacgva.org



European Development
Task Force

8 March, UK Co-operative
College, Loughborough
Board Committee

9 April, Tel-Aviv
3rd ICA European Development
3 October p.m., Bratislava
European Council
20-21 March, Sofia, Bulgaria
ICA Board
10-12 April, Tel-Aviv
Regional Assembly for Europe
4-5 October, Bratislava
CCACE meeting
21 March, Sofia
International Conference
on Legislation

29-30 September and 1 October,Prague, Czech Republic
ICA Board
6-7 October, Bratislava
Regional Directors' meeting
7 April, Tel-Aviv, Israel
European Council
3 October a.m., Bratislava,
Slovak Republic
ICA Global Forum
4-8 December, Rio de Janeiro,
Development Advisory
8 April, Tel-Aviv



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 31 January 2000.


For more details on any of the topics mentioned in the Bulletin please write to:

15 route des Morillons, 1218 Grand-Saconnex, Geneva, Switzerland
Tel: (41 22) 929 88 31/02 Fax: (41 22) 798 41 22
Email: icaeurope@coop.org
Email: martina@coop.org

Last updated: 15 March 2000


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