A summary table on the state of implementation of the directive and of the regulation's was put forward by the commission (click here) on 16.11.2006.
It was updated at the meeting, as follows:
For Cyprus: the directive and the regulation have been adopted in November 2006, the publication in the official gazette will be implemented in December of this year.
For Portugal: the transposition law has been voted, it will be published on the official gazette soon
France: the texts will reportedly be introduced to the Parliament in early 2007. There are still some difficulties for the cooperative banks.
Slovakia: the transposition law has been approved by the government in February 2006; but the legislative process has been interrupted because of the elections. The second draft reading is ongoing at the Parliament. Normally, it will be published in the official gazette in March 2007.
Italy: the legislative decree is being examined by the Senate.
Estonia: a law on the directive has been drafted. It should be introduced to the government and to the parliament this year. But its examination will be maybe postponed because of the elections to come.
Malta: the drafting of the transposition text is finished. It will be introduced to the parliament in early 2007.
Other documents are available from the following link: http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/labour_law
Adrian Celaya from Ezai Foundation, Mondragon Corporacion Cooperativa, made an update of the amendments in the Spanish law following the adoption of the SCE regulation
The Spanish legislative system is particularly complex since, together with the national legislation which settles the general principles, we can also find specific legislation for each autonomous region. Several legislative modifications have been adopted since 2005-2006 (Euskadi, Murcia, navarra, Asturias, Extremadura) with the following original aspects: the “sections” development, “cooperative groups” and new “Capital instruments”.
A new approach of reserves available or not for distribution, the cooperative subsidiaries, the mixed cooperatives and the micro-cooperatives. These are many new approaches which would require more developments and deepenings.
The general trend, in Spain, Adrian Celaya concluded, is moving towards a generalisation of new instruments: capital without the vote rights, progressive transmissibility of capital, adaptation of the non distributable compulsory reserves system, adaptation of the law to the IAS/IFRS norms.
Adrian Celaya also informed participants of how the Spanish legislation had to be modified in order to implement the IFRIC 2 interpretation for cooperatives of IAS (International Accounting Standard) 32. Along the presentation, he also suggested the proposal of transforming the indivisible reserves into equity, something which brought about a lively debate among participants, in particular from cooperative representatives from France and Italy.
Volker Heegemann from the European Association of Cooperative Banks (EACB) made an update on the evolution of IAS 32 within the framework of the convergence project between the IASB (International Accounting Standards Board) and FASB (the US accounting standards board). There was a strong request from participants to the European Commission's cooperative unit (under Ms Vlaeminck) to actively support cooperatives in the whole IAS issue.
As in the past, you will receive the relevant information on the IAS within the framework of CICOPA, after a meeting of the ICA IAS working group in Trento on Friday. Lajos Varadi, director of the Hungarian savings cooperative federation, made a report of his recent appointment as representative of cooperatives in the company law and corporate governance group of DG Market.
He underlined the corporate governance characteristics of cooperatives and their difference from those of other types of enterprises.
After a suggestion by one of the participants that large cooperatives almost inevitably lose their democratic principles, and that the one person one vote system was not necessarily ideal, a strong reaction by several cooperative representatives took place, explaining, eg, that the reasoning would be tantamount to saying that democracy would then be totally impossible at a country level.
Ms Vlaeminck observed that there seemed to be a consensus on the need to uphold the cooperative one person one vote system. A concrete case of a European-level cooperative having configured itself according to the spirit of the SCE, Coopernic, was then presented by its director. Coopernic operates in the field of distribution and gathers important players in France (Leclerc), Germany (REWE), Conad (Italy), Coop (Switzerland) and Colruyt (Belgium), together making up 10% of the EU distribution market. The presentation was followed with a lot of interest.
However, it is important to underline that Coopernic is not a European cooperative society yet as per the definition of the regulation. Indeed, they define themselves as “an operative tool to increase the competitiveness of member groups in line with their mission, safeguarding their identity” and are not under the SCE statute.
At last, different more general topics were discussed such as some correction proposals of transcription or translation in the text of the SCE regulation. It allowed the participants to give a clearer definition of some terms such as “surplus of benefit”, “cooperative part and shares”, etc.