The conference was aimed at ministry officials, government agency officials and stakeholder organisations in EU Member States. Its purpose was to address important issues for SMEs with a focus on exchanging best practice. After a plenary session opened by Jöran Hägglund (State secretary in charge of Enterprises, Energy and Communication; Sweden) and Françoise Le Bail (Deputy Director-General of DG Enterprises and Industry; European Commission), important issues for SMEs were addressed in parallel workshops: incentives for re-investing profits and reducing late payments; energy efficiency in SMEs; creativity in entrepreneurship; women’s entrepreneurship; bankruptcy procedures and business transfers; access to public procurement; benchmarking of progress in SME policy in the Western Balkans and in the Mediterranean countries and different ways of entrepreneurship.

CECOP’s French member, CGSCOP, was invited by the European Commission to participate to the workshop “Different ways of entrepreneurship”, and to present support initiatives in term of business transfer to employees under cooperative form. Michel Gaté (CGSCOP) underlined that through the cooperativisation of enterprises, existing jobs can be preserved, but also the local inking and know how is maintained.

CGSCOP’s testimony shows that such processes would not been possible without cooperative development instruments such as those provided by regional CGSCOP federations and agencies. In order to ensure the development of such experiences but also development of cooperatives in general, Michel Gaté called for the creation of specific funds dedicated to reinforce equity capital, measures aimed to facilitate the creation of cooperative groups also at European level and the development of entreprise support services. It is positive to see that DG Enterprises and Industry, by putting on the agenda of this conference the topic of business transfer to employees, expressed its interest for this modality of business transfers.

Nevertheless, we consider that it would have been much more relevant to invite CGSCOP to present its experience in the specific workshop of the same conference, on solutions for successful business transfers where no business transfer to employees was mentioned.