Among many other topics, Mr Juncker mentioned the need for Europe to develop its social dimension and put into law the intentions drawn up during the Gothenburg summit. We strongly support this and call for continuous efforts by the Members States and the European Commission for the implementation of the European Social Pillar of Rights.

The optimism shown by Mr Juncker when mentioning the most favourable employment and unemployment rates since 2000 does not reflect the day-to-day reality European citizens have to face: more jobs does not necessarily mean quality jobs! The European Commission must take into account the fragmentation of employment across EU and the increase of non-standard jobs.

As far as migration is concerned, it is no wonder that cooperatives from our network were and are still on the frontline of the migration crisis working relentlessly not only to welcome and assist refugees and asylum seekers, but also providing many with a realistic opportunity of social inclusion through the cooperative work. Investing only in boarder securitisation will not solve the question of migrant’s long-term inclusion in our societies. Members States need a strong impulse from the Commission on that side.

We also agree with Mr Junker that the concerns of workers and SMEs are crucial factors for the very core of the European unity. As a Europe-wide organisation gathering cooperatives active in industry and services, the majority of enterprises represented by CECOP-CICOPA Europe are small and medium cooperatives, mainly being managed and controlled by their workers, showing that economic performance is not incompatible with social impact. Quite the opposite, they demonstrate that those two dimensions reinforce each other and contribute to the creation of sustainable growth and quality jobs.

In this sense, the adoption of the next Multiannual Financial Framework and the related programmes will have a major role in providing concrete supporting measures for the development of cooperatives in industry and services, and SME in large.

Read the State of the Union 2018

CECOP-CICOPA Europe is the European Confederation of worker, social and producers’ cooperatives active in industry and services. It groups national organisations in 15 countries which in turn affiliate over 50.000 cooperative and participative enterprises in industry and services, the vast majority being SMEs, and employing 1.4 million workers across Europe. Most of them are characterised by the fact that the majority of their employees are member-owners, while some of them are second-degree enterprises for SMEs. Furthermore, around 4,000 of these enterprises are specialised in the reintegration of disadvantaged and marginalised workers (persons with disabilities, long-term unemployed, former prisoners, addicts, etc.).

Press Officer: Reza Opdebeeck
Policy Officer: Mila Shamku