Wednesday 1st and Thursday 2nd October 2008
Maison des Associations Internationales (MAI)
Rue de Washington 40
1050 Brussels

The world level declaration defining the “worker ownership” model of enterprises represented by CECOP-CICOPA Europe was approved by the general assembly of the International Cooperative Alliance in 2005. The declaration emphasises both the entrepreneurial aspects and the social inclusion aspect of the model.

It advocates the need to develop and promote such enterprises and “the full recognition of their role as actors in the solution of the problems of unemployment and social exclusion” (General Considerations, 5) because they are “effective actors of job creation and inclusion to working life of unemployed social groups” (IV, 1).

The declaration further states that “Cooperative worker ownership should be promoted as an option and an entrepreneurial model as much in processes of entrepreneurial change and restructuring, start-ups, privatisations, conversion of enterprises in crisis, and transmission of enterprises without heirs, as in the concession of public services and public procurement, in which the State should define conditioning clauses that stimulate local development through worker cooperative enterprises” (IV, 6).

The conference is an attempt to show how worker ownership, as an entrepreneurial system which directly contributes to entrepreneurial development and social inclusion, is of high relevance to three key and inter-related European policy issues: services of general interest, cohesion policy and structural funds, and enterprise restructuring.