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ICA Europe Bulletin







Lobbying Seminar

Sixty participants attended the Seminar "Co-operatives in the New Europe - Interacting with governments and the European Union's institutions", which was organised by the Regional Office on 1-2 February 2001 in Brussels, Belgium. In addition to lobbying experiences of national co-operative organisations from Western Europe and Central and Eastern Europe, the Brussels based sectoral associations and national representations also presented their cases. Speakers from the European Commission included Lorimer D. Mackenzie, Director for the promotion of entrepreneurship and SMEs, Peter Wragg, Head of unit dealing with the enterprise aspects of enlargement, William Neale from the unit Small Enterprises, Crafts, Co-operatives and Mutuals of DG Enterprise and Henrich Wollny, from PHARE-TACIS Information Office. Mary Honeyball, Member of the European Parliament (MEP), hosted the Seminar. Gary Titley, MEP from the United Kingdom held the introductory address.

Meeting with Commissioner

Mr. Erkki Liikanen, member of the European Commission responsible for Enterprise and the Information Society received an ICA delegation on 2 February in Brussels. Members were L. Hillbom, ICA Europe President, K-J. Fogelström, ICA Director-General, E. Pflimlin, member of ICA Board and chairman of CCACE, Z. Szöke vice-chairman of Co-op Hungary and G. Sozánski, Regional Director. The meeting was very positive. Mr. Liikanen showed a deep understanding about the role of co-operatives in today's and tomorrow's Europe. He promised to make sure that his services maintain a regular dialogue with European co-operative organisations and pay due attention to the representation of co-operatives within the DG Enterprise.

Staff changes

Martina Donahower, assistant to the Regional Office for Europe since January 1999, is leaving the organisation end of February 2001. A big Thank you to Martina for her conscientious work and contribution to running the Office. She was in charge of the ICA Europe Bulletin and the web pages in addition to all administrative tasks.

A job description of a new programme officer was circulated to member organisations asking for possible secondment or other candidates. The competition is open until 15 March 2001. The vacancy announcement is on the ICA Europe Web site: http://www.coop.org/europe/recruitment.html

Development projects

The Co-operative Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina requested ICA's help in the implementation of their project to set up a multi-ethnic co-operative village. ICA Housing Committee has been contacted for possible technical assistance and expertise. The Regional Director had negotiations with the Council of Europe, which launched a campaign for the implementation of the Stability Pact for South-East Europe. The chief of the campaign expressed great interest in including the project in their programme. The project proposal is being finalised by the Co-op Federation of B&H; and ICA Europe before submitting it to the CoE.

ICA Europe managed to include a co-operative sub-project in a project proposal of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, UN/ECE. The title of the project is: "Promotion of entrepreneurship and SMEs in the South-Caucasian region". The beneficiaries are the consumer co-operative movements in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.


The basic statistical data of member organisations are to be published in the ICA Annual Report. Those who have not yet filled in the questionnaire please remember to return it to ICA, Geneva filled in with data as of 31 December 1999. The deadline is 31 March 2001



Bosnia and Herzegovina

Roberto Rodrigues, ICA President and Gabriella Sozánski, Regional Director visited the Co-operative Federation in Bosnia-Herzegovina and had meetings with the Ministers of Agriculture of B&H; and Republic of Srpska and the deputy UN High Commissioner. Zivko Radisic, President of Bosnia and Herzegovina also received the delegation. During their visit a National Conference was organised within the framework of a management training programme run and financed by KF Project Centre, Sweden. The presentations of R. Rodrigues and G. Sozanski made at the conference dealt with ICA's activities in co-operative development worldwide and specifically in Europe. The co-operative movement in Bosnia and Herzegovina is struggling with the reconstruction of their co-operatives and are seeking support from and collaboration with co-operative organisations of Western Europe, particularly in the housing, agricultural and financial sectors.


At the invitation of the Co-operative Alliance of Croatia the ICA President and the Regional Director visited Zagreb last November. Meetings with the minister of agriculture and minister of SMEs were arranged. The Speaker of Parliament also received the delegation. The Croatian co-operative movement, which is a new member of ICA, has had very positive experiences in lobbying with their government. Evidence of this collaboration is a modern co-operative law drafted by the Croatian Co-operative Alliance and adopted by the Parliament. Currently, the main concern of the movement is to obtain loans at reasonable rates in order to renew the old agricultural machinery of their co-operatives.


The Consumer Co-operative Federation FDB, recently circulated leaflets published in English presenting its Ethical policy 2000. The policy was adopted by the FDB Board on 9 March 2000, after an extensive process of dialogue with various stakeholders such as members' representatives, employees, NGOs, authorities and business partners. For more information, you can consult FDB's Web site: http://www.fdb.dk


ANCC/COOP 10th National Congress will take place in Rome on 28 February - 2 March 2001. The Congress theme is "Coop - Investing in the future - Solidarity and efficiency for a changing society". During the Congress, the consumer movement will examine how to respond to the challenge of bringing the consumer co-operation, its enterprises and values into a society increasingly conditioned by economic globalisation and a growing competitive market.

Within the framework of implementing ICA's Gender Strategy Legacoop undertook a study with the support of the Ministry of Labour. The survey included Legacoop's more than 3200 member societies and showed that women in Italy are increasingly choosing co-operatives for entrepreneurial activities. 51% of Legacoop's membership and 48% of jobs are held by women. However this increasing participation of women at the membership and employee level has not been replicated at the decision-making levels. More in depth research will be needed to identify specific actions that will enable women entrepreneurs to participate more effectively in co-operatives and incorporate these elements into a larger Legacoop Gender Strategy.


The Swedish Consumer Co-operative organisation KF is organising a major conference in Malmö on 26-27 April 2001 on the theme "European Consumer Co-operative Contribution to Active Consumers in the Fields of Globalisation, Sustainable Consumption, Health and Well being". KF is inviting consumer co-operative organisations from all European countries to attend the Conference. Speakers from the European Commission, the Swedish Government, consumer organisations, researchers, media and industry have been invited to the meeting. For more information, please contact: Per Olof Jönsson or Jan Ahlen at KF: Tel: 00 46 8 743 10 00.

United Kingdom

Probably the most significant event to occur in the British Movement since 1958, when the Report of the Independent Commission was published, was the publication on 10 February 2001 of the Report of the Co-operative Commission called "the Co-operative Advantage". Established a year ago, this Commission has had a wide-ranging remit and has presented 60 recommendations, which will be put to the Co-operative Union Congress at the end of May for approval. "The Co-operative Advantage" combines the need for commercial success with achieving social and community goals through a unique and valuable "virtuous circle. John Monks, chairman of the Commission said: "It is up to the Movement to decide whether it is prepared to grasp the opportunity and put our proposals into practice. If the Movement adopts the recommendations and implements them in full, I believe the prospects can be as bright as at any time in History".

Speaking at a reception at 10 Downing Street after the launch of the report, Tony Blair, UK Prime Minister said the co-op was a "remarkable Movement" with extraordinary strength". He added: "The report is an excellent piece of work and I can sense the optimism behind its vision of the future. I am confident it can be done. We will consider the recommendations carefully and work out how we can take the movement forward together." The full report is available at Web site: www.co-opcommission.org.uk

Following the merger between the Co-operative Wholesale Society Ltd CWS and the Co-operative Retail Services Ltd. CRS last April the legal name of the new Society has changed to Co-operative Group (CWS) Limited, with effect from 14th January 2001. The Society has a wide range of business interests, and these will each be referred to as being "Part of the Co-operative Group". The trading names of the businesses, and the familiar Co-op logo are unaffected by this change.

Proposals to move the College from Stanford Hall to a Northern location have been agreed by the Board of Management and by the Trustee (the Co-operative Union Ltd.) Discussions are proceeding with the local Authority in Rochdale with a view to an arrangement being agreed which would create a link with a College of Further Education in the town, and also provide suitable premises for the Co-operative College. Stanford Hall is to be sold, and the College will be moving to provisional accommodation, probably in Manchester at the end of June.

The University of Leicester produced a report "Reasserting the Co-operative Advantage", which was based on a survey of 16 retail co-operative societies in the UK and undertaken by the Society for Co-operative Studies. The report reflects an effort to ensure the survival of co-operatives as membership-based organisations in the commercial world and stresses the importance to focus on the core co-operative retail businesses. For copies of the report please contact University of Leicester Management Centre. Tel: 00 44 116 252 52 01, Fax: 00 44 116 252 39 49, E-mail: awp4@le.ac.uk

The Co-operative Union is now providing administrative support services for the United Kingdom Co-operative Council UKCC (representing all Sectors) and also for the Industrial Common Ownership Movement ICOM (representing Worker/Producer Co-operatives) - a move which will bring closer collaboration, and help in the promotion of Co-operatives and Co-operation across the UK.



Workers' co-operatives

The Fifth World Conference of CICOPA will take place on 15 October 2001 in Seoul, Korea. For further information please contact Jan-Eirik Imbsen: Tel: 00 41 22 929 88 17, Fax: 00 41 22 798 41 22, E-mail: development@coop.org


The second Social Economy and Co-operative Research Conference in Europe in the new Millennium will be held in Gävle, Sweden, 6-9 June 2001. The theme of the conference is "The Social Capital of the Future" and is organised by the ICA Research Committee, CIRIEC and the Network for Co-operative Studies in Sweden and the Scandinavian Countries. The purpose of the research conference is to explore the role, the challenges and the opportunities facing the social economy in Europe in respect of the transformation of the European Union and the integration of institutions and markets. For further information please contact Maria Fregidou-Malama: Tel: 00 46 26 648 687, Fax: 00 46 26 648 589, E-mail:mma@hig.se


The IHCO European Committee and Centrosoyuz are organising a seminar "Natural treatment, phytotherapy and rehabilitation" on 16-19 March 2001, Belokhurikha, Altai Region, Russia. For more information please contact Mats Ahnlund Tel: 00 41 22 929 88 88, Fax: 00 41 22 798 41 22, E-mail: members@coop.org


EURESA, which groups seven insurance companies in the social economy, will organise a conference on "Consumption and Social Economy" on 30 March 2001, in Brussels. The Seminar aims to establish a dialogue between insurance companies from the social economy and consumer organisations. For further information please contact EURESA, Tel: 00 33 1 45 74 08 56, Fax: 00 33 1 45 74 14 31, Web site: http://www.euresa.org


The main topics discussed at the meeting of CCACE Presidents, held in Brussels on 17 January 2001 were the European Co-operative Statute, the White Paper on Co-operatives, and the organisation of a Co-operative Conference in Brussels. Francesco Ianiello and William Neale from DG Enterprise of the European Commission participated at the meeting. Lars Hillbom and Gabriella Sozanski represented ICA.

In order to ensure and increase the visibility and understanding of the co-operative specificity, a Co-operative Conference will be organised by CCACE in Brussels next spring. The programme will aim at presenting the co-operative sector to the EU institutions and demonstrate the co-operative contribution to the EU priorities, such as employment, enlargement and others.

Euro Coop

On 31 January 2001, Euro Coop President Ann Buch Jørgensen, Bill Shannon, Lars Hillbom, and Caroline Naett met with Robert Coleman, Director of DG for Health and Consumers' Protection, to discuss the Commission's decision to stop granting subsidies to Euro Coop. The decision is based on the fact that Euro Coop does not correspond to the criteria laid down in the legal base for the financing of European consumer organisations. The Commission, however, invites Euro Coop to explore possibilities to work on a project basis with the Commission.

The Swedish Presidency is organising a seminar for European consumer organisations "Voice of the European Consumer 2001", which will be held in Lund 26-27 April. Co-financed by the European Commission the seminar will focus on the way the single market works for the consumer; what impact the new technologies and the new markets have on consumers; and what new forms of regulation are needed at EU level. An informal meeting with ministers responsible for the internal market and consumer affairs will take place on 27 April, at the same location. A spokesperson from the NGOs will have the opportunity to present statements from the seminar directly to the ministers.


COGECA expressed interest in closer working relationship with ICA Europe and ICAO. The Agricultural Committee of ICA suggested to hold a joint workshop on a topic related to developing agricultural co-operatives in CEEC. Discussions are carried on about details.



European Company Statute

In accordance with the conclusions of the Nice Summit, the European Social Affairs Ministers at their extraordinary Council meeting on 20 December 2000 reached a political agreement on the European Company Statute, and on the related directive concerning workers' involvement in European companies.

European Co-operative Statute (ECS)

Following the political agreement on the European Company Statute, progress towards the adoption of a European Co-operative Statute can be expected in the near future. Representatives of European co-operative organisations want to push for the adoption of the existing text (1995), without re-opening discussion on the drafting of specific articles, which would involve the risk of further delaying the adoption of the ECS. The draft statutes are flexible and leave a large scope to national rules. The Commission also does not want to re-open the discussions on the text. They expect it to be adopted during the Swedish Presidency.

Leonardo Programme

On 15th December 2000, the European Commission adopted the 2001 budget for the Leonardo da Vinci II vocational training programme. Mobility projects for young people and trainers are implemented by national agencies in Member States. The overall Leonardo budget for 2001 is EUR 147 million. Out of this, EUR 7.4 million will be devoted to promote linguistic skills in the framework of professional training. The budget is divided between Member States according to their population, living costs and size.

Call for proposals for Tacis cross border co-operation

The Commission published a call for proposals for Tacis cross border co-operation (CBC). The Tacis CBC small project facility supports local and regional cross border co-operation between the NIS, EU and the bordering CEEC. The programme's objective is to support projects, which seek to address a common problem, or to develop the partners' competencies in the area of administrative reforms, local economic development, social affairs, environment and energy efficiency. The geographical area is CBC areas of Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova. The maximum project duration is 18 months. The minimum grant for a project is EUR 100 000, maximum EUR 200 000. Community funding can cover a maximum of 80% of the project cost. The deadline for application is 27 March 2001. Detailed information can be found at Web site: http://europa.eu.int/comm/scr/tender/index!en.htm

White Paper on co-operatives

The European Commission hopes to have a draft of the White Paper ready by June, for the European conference on social economy, which will take place in Gävle (Sweden), 7-9 June 2001. A one-page outline of the content of the paper was prepared by the Commission, which covers the major areas to be addressed.

Enterprise Policy Group

On 8 November 2000, the European Commission decided to create an Enterprise Policy Group. The task of the group will be to advise the Commission on enterprise policy issues and issues relating to the competitiveness of the European industry. The group will consist of up to two representatives from each Member State, nominated by each Member State; and up to 40 members appointed by the Commission, representing a wide range of expertise in domains of importance to enterprises.

Social Economy

A European meeting of the social economy and the economy of solidarity was organised under the French Presidency of the EU in Tours, France on 23-24 November 2000. In parallel, a meeting of representatives of the now dissolved Consultative Committee on Co-operatives, Mutuals, Associations and Foundations (CMAF) was held to discuss the future co-operation between the sectors of the social economy. As a result of the discussions a new body was created, the Permanent European Conference of Co-operatives, Mutuals, Associations and Foundations (PEC-CMAF). Its aim is to ensure that the voice of the European CMAF is heard at EU level. A first item on the work agenda is competition.


"The EU Market Access Strategy - Meeting the challenge of globalisation": In this publication the European Commission informs about the EU Market Access Database, which is part of the Market Access Strategy. The Strategy was launched in 1996 as part of European trade policy. It is a continuing dialogue between the EU institutions, EU Member States and European business in order to reduce the obstacles facing European exporters of goods and services. The Market Access Database is available at Web site: http://mkaccdb.eu.int/



At the meeting of the NGO Liaison Committee in January 2001, in Strasbourg, the Regional Director was selected to participate in an ad hoc working group set up for the preparation of a study visit of representatives from Central and Eastern European NGOs in the Council of Europe. This visit will take place in conjunction with the joint meeting between the members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the CoE and the NGOs in September 2001. ICA member organisations from CEEC are requested to let the secretariat know if they are interested in participating in the study visit.




The ICA Board decided at its meeting in Bratislava, last October, that a Legislative Committee should be formed along the same lines as the other Board Committees. The new Committee, whose members were approved at the Board meeting in December 2000 in Rio, Brazil, will meet for the first time on 17 April 2001 in Rome, the day before the ICA Board meeting. Members of the ex-Global Legislative Commission have been invited to report on their past activities and propose areas, which the new Board Committee may wish to address.


After the ICA Board approved the establishment of an ICA Youth Network at its Bratislava meeting, the ICA President requested information on present activities as well support for the new initiative, in a letter to all member organisations. Seven European organisations have already expressed their interest in taking part in the Network and provided information. An ICA Youth Workshop will be held in Seoul, Korea in conjunction with the ICA General Assembly in October. Member organisations are encouraged to include young people in their national delegation.


The ICA Gender Equality Committee GEC is to replace the ICA Global Women's Committee. The decision was unanimously adopted at the Plenary Meeting of the ICA Global Women's Committee 4 December 2000 in Rio. The GEC also adopted a new constitution to better reflect its focus on promoting equal opportunity and gender mainstreaming. It will also enable both women and men to become members of the Committee. The GEC constitution will be submitted for approval to the ICA Board at its meeting in April 2001 in Rome. For more information please consult the Web site: www.coop.org/women/gec.htm


The Regional Director attended a workshop of the enlarged Communications Committee in Copenhagen on 3-4 February. It was a brainstorming session on the future directions of ICA communications policy and its priorities. It was suggested that over the next six months ICA's communication activities should focus on dot coop as an excellent tool to improve the image of co-operatives. The ICACC is expected to become a group of professionals advising and supporting the Head Office in implementing ICA's Communications Policy.


The ICA Development Advisory Committee met in Marburg, Germany on 10-11 February 2001. All Regional Directors were invited. Following the presentations on the global and regional development activities of ICA, the questions of the role and best ways of further collaboration between ICA and its partners were discussed in smaller groups as well as in the plenary. The conclusions will be circulated.

Planning session in ICA

Head office staff and regional directors took part in a one-week workshop from 5-10 February 2001, which took place at the ICA head office, in Geneva. The values, the vision and the mission of ICA were discussed first. This was followed by addressing the points of "The ICA Agenda", which include four priorities: co-operative identity and image, international presence, development and networking. Some crosscutting issues, such as gender, youth, and environment were also addressed during the brainstorming. The evaluation of the discussions will enable ICA to organise its activities and human resources more efficiently and focus on priorities.

Rochdale Pioneers Prize

ICA Board has recently established the "Rochdale Pioneers Prize" for best co-operative practice. With the aim to recognise a person who has contributed to innovative and financially sustainable co-operative activities that have significantly benefited their membership, the prize will be awarded every two years in conjunction with the ICA General Assembly. The deadline for nominations is 1 April 2001. For more information please contact Mats Ahnlund Tel: 00 41 22 929 88 88, Fax: 00 41 22 798 41 22, E-mail: members@coop.org

Dot Coop

ICA and its partners the National Cooperative Business Association and Poptel are working to make dot coop, the new global and future-oriented Internet identity for co-operatives. Dot coop is reserved to co-operatives only and will provide them with global visibility to improve their image, market their difference, promote e-business, and attract new members. While waiting for the official contract to be signed with the Internet Assigned Names and Numbers Corporation ICANN, ICA members are encouraged to prepare for this unique opportunity by identifying the name or names that they would like to register under dot coop and check the ICA web site for updated news.

Background on dot coop on Web site: http://www.coop.org/dotcoop.html

Latest planning meeting on Web site: http://www.coop.org/dotcoopmeet1.html

ICA General Assembly

The theme of the next General Assembly, Seoul, Korea, 12-17 October 2001, will be "Co-operation and Peace in the era of globalisation". The programme starts with the ICA Board on 12-13 October. The Specialised Bodies will meet on 14-15 October. The plenary session and business fora of the General Assembly will take place on 16-17 October.




ICA will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (UNCHS) to promote housing co-operatives in late February 2001. The first concrete activity emanating from a MoU is the ICA/UNCHS, a seminar entitled "Stimulating development of the co-operative approach in the shelter sector in Central and Eastern Europe and the CIS" to be held in the latter part of 2001 in Turkey. Work has already begun with UNCHS and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe in drafting a programme and identifying potential resource persons and participants.


The International Labour Office will begin discussions in June 2001 on the revision of its Recommendation 127 on co-operatives in view of adopting a new universally applicable international standard. The new standard should enable co-operatives to more effectively compete in the global marketplace. ILO has prepared two reports to serve as a basis for the June discussions during the 89th Session of the International Labour Conference. The preliminary report - Promotion of Co-operatives - was accompanied by a questionnaire to which governments and other stakeholders including co-operative organizations were asked to reply. The second report includes a summary of the replies and indicates the main points that the Conference may wish to consider.

ICA encourages co-operative organizations to contact Ministries of Labour to determine if a co-operative representative can be included in the governmental delegation to the ILO Conference to participate in the discussions on the new standard on co-operatives. ILO Reports on Co-operatives can be found on Web site: http://www.ilo.org

New Database on Co-operative Law

The Cooperative Branch of the International Labour Office (ILO) has recently launched a new database on co-operative legislation within the framework of their COOPREFORM, an ILO-DANIDA programme on cooperative development in rural areas. The database contains the full text of the most updated co-operative legislation from a geographically diverse group of countries. The laws included can be considered as "model laws" and are made available in English, French, or Spanish. The ICA Secretariat is collaborating with the ILO to increase the number of laws included in this new database. Links to the texts will also be included from a variety of existing co-operative legislative resources on the Internet including that of the Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives COPAC.

Currently, the database holds co-operative laws from the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, CIS, Colombia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Germany, India, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Madagascar, Morocco, Mongolia, Namibia, Nigeria, Philippines, Spain, and Vietnam. Information on the database can be found on the ILO Cooperative Branch Web site: http://oracle02.ilo.org/dyn/empent/empent.portal?p_docid=LAWS&p_prog=C&p_subprog=PL



All member organisations are requested to send us any relevant information they want to share with other members. Deadline for receiving contributions for the next issue is 30 April, 2001.



For more details on any of the topics mentioned in the Bulletin or any other correspondence to ICA EUROPE please write to:

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Tel: (41 22) 929 88 31/02 Fax: (41 22) 798 41 22
Email: icaeurope@coop.org
Web site: http://www.coop.org/europe/news.html

Last updated: 24 May 2002


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