The Minister, Jaromír Drábek, reminded those present of the importance of cooperatives during his address: “The platform of cooperatives is nothing new for me. The cooperative movement has a long history in the Czech Republic and it is an inevitable part of the Czech economy and of the Czech society. The Union of Czech Production Cooperatives (SČMVD) is one of the basic partners for negotiations between the government bodies and the cooperative sector. The cooperative movement has considerable advantages: the stakeholders are also the co-owners of those enterprises therefore they have much wider possibilities to decide about their own activities. I believe that the discussion that is taking place at the European level to strengthen the role of the cooperative movement is a good way to stimulate people to take responsibility for themselves in their own lives”.

The Minister has also underlined that he visited 2 production cooperatives this month in his effort to constantly improve the support of cooperatives by the government in the country. Indeed, the cooperative movement is deep-rooted within the Czech society, reaching as far back as the 19th century. SCMVD affiliates 252 cooperatives with 18,000 workers active in several economic sectors such as art handicraft, household equipment, building industry, electric equipment, wood, machines tools, textiles, clothing and chemicals.

Their aggregate turnover is around €730 million. The organisation was originally created in 1953 in order to promote and defend the interests of production cooperatives in the Czech Republic.

Rossano Rimelli president of CECOP and Czech Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Jaromír Drábek