European Council (1997)

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This document has been made available in electronic
format by the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA)
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November 1997
(Source: ICA News, Issue No.5/6/1997)

European Council
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The meeting of the European Council on 13 September in Geneva 
unanimously adopted recommendations by the Working Group reviewing relations between ICA
Europe and the co-operative sectoral associations in Brussels to create an institutional
framework to facilitate collaboration between ICA Europe and the European sub-committees
of the ICA Specialised bodies.

This would allow the latter to participate in the Regional Assembly for Europe with  a
right to vote, provided that half of their members are directly affiliated to ICA. As
long as both parties agree, the European Committee can be represented by the competent
sectoral association. An example of this is  CICOPA's decision to accept CECOP as their
European sub-committee. 

A closer collaboration was encouraged with all sectoral associations, and in particular
with COGECA.

Regarding future strategy, the Working Group recommended  ICA Europe to concentrate on
three specific areas: the defence and promotion of the co-operative idea; East-West
relations; and the promotion of collaboration in the Mediterranean rim.

On the recommendation of the Working Group some additional activities were added to the
workplan for 1998, including information collection and dissemination on key issues of
common interest, particularly  legislation, the process of demutualisation, training
tools, the creation of co-operatives in  non-traditional industries and added value to
members. 

The 1998 Regional Assembly for Europe from 15-16 October in Paris will focus on Threats
to co-operatives as well as the European elections. Two seminars will be organised with
the ICA Development Trust, one in collaboration with IRU and WOCCU on identifying the
development needs of Central and Eastern European countries, and another  on North-South
collaboration including the EuroMed programme.

During the coming year a development plan on assistance to co-operatives in Central and
Eastern Europe will be designed, and a gender programme will be drafted for Europe as a
follow-up to the  General Assembly resolutions.

ICA Europe will continue to deal with projects upon the request of member organisations.
The project on the collection of  co-operative statistics in Europe, co-financed by
EC-DGXXIII, will continue in 1998. 

After the data of member organisations has been received and evaluated,  a workshop will
be held for the national statistical co-ordinators of the programme.

Membership issues will take an increasing role in the activities of ICA Europe, with
special focus on analysing cases of members leaving the ICA and of  some negative
developments which have occasionally lead to bankruptcies. 

The Council decided to transform the European Secretariat into an official ICA Regional
Office effective from 1 January 1998.

Two co-options were approved until next year's elections, replacing G.Vecchi by Luigi
Marino, President of Confcooperative, Italy; and J.L.Arrieta by J.Salaberr'a, President
of the Confederation of Euskadi Co-operatives, Spain.  

A seminar on the impact of the European Unions enlargement on co-operatives will be held
in Prague on 3-4 November. This event will begin the process of  assisting candidate
countries co-operative movements to adapt to the requirements of joining the European
Union while helping long standing ICA and EU members to make the necessary adjustments
involved in the reform of the European Union.