Before submitting to your comments and criticism the draft text which the secretariat has elaborated, we would like to re-emphasise three key ideas on the SGI debate.

a)The SGI debate is one that the European cooperative movement cannot shun, given the relationship between the cooperative identity statement and the concept of general interest, and because it is already being tackled by the European Commission, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of Regions, the European Trade Union Confederation, the CEP-CMAF etc.
This is why Cooperatives Europe has also begun to deal with it, on the basis of the 5 main points which CECOP already submitted to the Cooperatives Europe Board. Since CECOP is the only sectoral organisation of Cooperatives Europe dealing with the service sector (except for financial and distributive sectors), we need to face the debate.

b)As far as sectors of activity are concerned, the debate on SGI is not limited to social services: given the absence of clear definitions and borders (in particular between social services of general interest - SSGI - and other types of SGI), it concerns the whole service sector.

c)The SGI debate is not one between internal market and protectionism, but about proper regulation (as the October 2006 European Parliament resolution explains), the alternative being an accumulation of juridical rulings, with all the arbitrariness that this entails. Please send us your comments on the CECOP draft position for 30 April at the latest.

Click here to read the CECOP draft position and the most recent information on the SGI debate.