World Overview

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World Overview
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Canada

Federal Government Cuts Development Budget
CCA's international development funding has been reduced in the wake of a
tough federal budget. The February 28 budget cut government spending on
international development assistance by 21 per cent over a three-year
period.

In turn, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the federal
government's development arm, has reduced CCA's block fund allotment for
1995/6 by 14%. Block fund money is used for smaller overseas projects, and
for development education and communications in Canada.

CCA's budget reduction was about average among the cuts affecting Canada's
largest NGOs. Some took heavier hits, while a few actually received budget
increases.

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Desjardins Movement Continues to Grow
The 1994 Annual Report of the Mouvement des Caisses Desjardins notes that:

 *      As the largest financial institution in Quebec, the Desjardins
        system has 29.9 percent of the personal credit market,  41.2 percent of
        housing loans, 38.3 percent of term deposit savings, 21.4 percent of
        commercial lending, and 47.6 percent of the agricultural market.

 *       The movement recorded combined surplus earnings of $314 million
         (Can.) in 1994, an increase of 16.7 percent.

 *      A new structure was introduced, including a Board of Directors
        composed of elected members, responsible for guidelines and overall
        control; and a Committee of General Managers responsible for operations.

 *      A capital security compatible with the movement's co-operative
        character will be issued on the financial markets in 1995.

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Desjardins Publishes Economic, Social & Co-operative Balance Sheet

In its 1994 Annual Report the Mouvement des Caisses Desjardins has
published a separate "Socio-Economic and Co-operative Balance Sheet"
outlining its contributions to co-operation between co-operatives, the
environment, community development, education, arts and culture, families,
young people, and humanitarian work.  It estimates that the components of
the Desjardins movement returned some 40 million Canadian dollars to their
communities in 1994.

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France
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Co-operatives Join Election Campaign

The 14 members of the Groupement National de la Cooperation have sent a
Declaration to the country's Presidential candidates and national press in
which they emphasise that government policies should not discriminate
against co-operatives, which have specific organisational characteristics.
"The consideration of these specific characteristics is especially
necessary in the fiscal and legal fields, as well as in the area of
elected-member training and that of competition policy", according to the
Declaration.  The French co-operatives also emphasised their determination
to participate actively in all public consultations, "not only to raise
subjects of direct concern to them, but especially in order to contribute
their own experiences and capacities for innovation".

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Norway
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The Co-operative Future

The Norwegian Prime Minister, Gro Harlem Brundland, told the Board of the
Royal Norwegian Society for Rural Devel-opment that, in her view,
co-operative solut-ions would experience a new revival.

Ms. Brundland was attending a celebratory event held on 17 January this
year to honour the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Rochdale
Co-operative Society in the North of England. The event, which was entitled
the Co-operative Future, was also attended by the Norwegian Minister of
Finance, Mr. Sigbjorn Johnsen, who told delegates that he believed that
Co-operation was not an outdated idea, but one which could be spread and
developed through new roles in communities, transport and health care.

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Spain
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Mondragon Goes to Stock Markets

According to press reports, the worker-owned Mondragon co-operative
federation intends to raise 12 billion pesetas ($96 million) on the Spanish
stock exchange this year.   Mondragon is purchasing Ascorp, a unit of
Spain's national association for the blind, which is already listed on the
stock exchange, for this purpose.  Mondragon is Spain's 12th largest
company by sales, and the country's leading exporter of machine tools and
car parts.
(The European, 19-25 May 1995)

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Switzerland
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Migros Pulls out of Konsum Austria

The Migros Federation of Co-operatives has reached an agreement with
Konsum Austria, which is currently in receivership, whereby their
joint venture will end on 15 May 1995.  The losses incurred to date
by Migros are estimated at 300 million Swiss francs.

The Migros Regional Federation of St.Gall will nevertheless maintain its
100 percent ownership of the 32 stores belonging to the Familia chain in
Austria.
(Journal de Geneve, 12 May 1995)