CECOP’s Secretary General, Diana Dovgan, welcomed the focus on the green and digital transitions in Europe:

“The efforts to support businesses transforming to climate-compatible business models and harnessing the benefits of digitalization are both needed and timely, especially during this unprecedented crisis. However, both crisis support measures and transition programmes must not overlook the importance and needs of cooperatives in industry and services, as well as the broader social economy.” 

CECOP welcomes the ambitions of the European Commission to reduce the EU’s carbon emissions to 55% by 2030 and to ensure a democratic and transparent digital transition. To achieve these ambitious goals, CECOP looks forward to work with its partners on the announced updated Industrial Strategy, to make sure that industrial cooperatives are reflected as key drivers of transition. From the production of high-tech industrial goods such as electric vehicles to a re-designing of the build environment (including construction), cooperatives showed their capabilities to translate climate ambitions into sustainable business practices. 

Giuseppe Guerini, the President of CECOP, highlighted the importance of cooperatives in the digital transition:

“Cooperatives have shown their potential to democratise the digital economy. From platform workers to the digital coordination of community projects, cooperatives are using digital tools, from platforms to artificial intelligence, to meet the needs of their members and their communities.” 

During the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, many new instruments have been proposed and designed in record time. This helped to dampen the economic downturn and ensured livelihoods of workers in Europe. Both the Next Generation EU and the SURE-instrument are much needed during these times of economic turmoil. 

CECOP President Guerini adds:

“Our cooperatives have always been committed to the social and health protection of their worker-members, it is important that the EU commits to ensure adequate protection for all workers, especially the most fragile ones, in terms of welfare and health.” 

Moreover, CECOP regrets that President von der Leyen does not reflect the diversity of economic models and the crucial role of cooperatives and the social economy in Europe. Many of the support instruments that responded to the COVID-19 pandemic failed to reflect the needs of cooperatives or misclassified worker members. Thereby, many workers where not considered eligible for income support or fell outside the safety net of social protection.  

Worker cooperatives, social cooperatives, cooperatives of independent workers stepped up their efforts in protecting their worker members and showed strength and concerns for their communities during this crisis. CECOP is looking forward to contribute and advocate for a proper development and implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights and the Social Economy Action Plan.