ICA Regional Assembly for Europe

ICA Regional Assembly for Europe
Prague, Czech Republic - 26-27 October 1994


Opening Ceremony

The ICA President, Lars Marcus, opened the meeting by asking participants
to stand for a moment of silence in tribute to the 20 co-operators who had
died in the sinking of the M.S. Estonia.

The President of the Co-operative Association of the Czech Republic, Ota
Karen, welcomed participants and said that the Czech movement was honoured
to host the first Regional Assembly.

Igor Nemec, Office of the President of the Republic, spoke of the
successful transformation of the Czech co-operatives since 1989.

Lars Marcus proposed that Graham Melmoth, elected in 1993 as ICA
Vice-President (Europe), take the chair.  This was agreed.

Official Business

Mr. Melmoth officially called the meeting to order.  The agenda, as
circulated to members on 20 July, 1994, was approved.

Mr. Marcus reported on the global situation of ICA.  He emphasised that the
successful initiation of the new regional structure is of highest
importance for the future of ICA and its members.

Mr. Melmoth referred to the draft Rules and Procedures for the Regional
Assembly, which had also been circulated on 20 July.  He reported that the
European Advisory Council had recommended that these Rules be approved
provisionally, and that a special committee be established to consider
necessary amendments, as proposed by ICA members, so that the definitive
version of the Rules could be adopted on the occasion of a special European
Regional Assembly in Manchester in September 1995.

Katarina Apelqvist (Observer, Sweden) proposed that the draft Rules be
amended immediately to provide for the election of two Vice-Presidents.
Calixte Parpais (Representative, France) said that this suggestion should
be considered in due course by the special committee which had been
proposed by the Council.

The Chairman asked for a show of hands, which indicated that the original
proposal from the European Advisory Council was approved.   Mr. Melmoth
said that Ms. Apelqvist's proposal should be considered by the special
committee during its work next year.

Report from Working Group I on Internal Issues

Lars Hillbom (Representative, Sweden) reported on the six priorities which
this Working Group had examined since September 1993.  The Working Group
had recommended to the European Advisory Council that:

The report on Co-operative Identity and the Review of the Co-operative
Principles, undertaken by Sven Ake Book, was a European contribution to the
work of Ian MacPherson, and this activity should be regarded as completed.
It was formally proposed to remove the task from the agenda of Working
Group I.

The short-term report on East-West relations, undertaken by Professor Hans
Menkner, which recommended the initiation of a programme to train
co-operative legal experts, should be used as part of the on-going work of
ICA Europe.

The long-term report on East-West relations, prepared by Ivan Fidler, which
recommended among other things that East-West activities be a main priority
of the ICA European region, and that the Co-op Network become an
independent body within the structure of ICA Europe, should be accepted by
the Advisory Council and Regional Assembly. (See the detailed
recommendations below.)

The reports on Cross-Border Activities, prepared by Thierry Jeantet and Jan
Olsson, had led to the conclusion that this issue should be pursued and
considered by ICA as part of its continuous agenda.

The report on Corporate Governance, prepared by Reimer Volkers and Moira
Lees, should form part of the European report to the ICA Congress in
Manchester, and should be sent by the ICA Board to the global ICA
membership for consultation.

The report on North-South issues, prepared by Bjorn Genberg and Lars-Eric
Birgegaard, should form part of the European contribution to the ICA
Congress theme of "sustainable human development" and should be renamed
"Sustainable Human Development - European Contribution"; and the activity
(including the environment) should be continued under this new name.  The
recommendations on resource mobilisation should be implemented by ICA
Europe, and the recommendations on development strategy should be used by
the ICA's development programme, African members, and donor partners.

The report on Gender, prepared by Raija Itkonen, should be sent to all ICA
members and should serve as the basis of on-going work within the
continuing projects initiated by Working Group I.  Ms. Itkonen, assisted by
Mary Treacy and Moira Lees, should extend this gender review to the
on-going activities from Working Group II.

Raija Itkonen emphasised that gender-responsive business is sound business,
and that co-operatives should make an organisational commitment to promote
gender equality.

Ota Karen, chairman of the Co-op Network, elaborated on the proposals to
make the Network an independent structure within the framework of ICA
Europe.  He pointed out that the Network had been created before the
existence of ICA Europe, and that now there should be a natural division of
labour:  policy for ICA Europe, and projects for the Network.  Both would
benefit by the interlinkage of activities on the basis of annual
Interventions:  Wilkinson (Representative, U.K.), Rauter (Representative,

The Chairman thanked Mr. Hillbom for his report and for the active work of
the Group he had coordinated.  He reported that the European Advisory
Council, at its meeting the day previously, had accepted the
recommendations of the Working Group that preparations should be continued
until September 1995 on three topics (Corporate Governance, Sustainable
Human Development, and Gender), and had also decided to recommend that the
Regional Assembly should agree to the following motion regarding the
East-West issue:

-       East-West activities shall be a main priority of the ICA
  European region;

-       ICA Europe shall coordinate all policy and administrative
  operations of the ICA European and the Co-op Network's East-
  West activities in order to avoid building up a separate East-
  West activity parallel to the Co-op Network;

-       The Co-op Network shall become an independent part of ICA
  Europe, with its own board and separate budget, concentrating
  on projects;

-       Overhead and administrative costs for project handling of the
  East-West activities shall be shared and the relations between
  ICA Europe and the Co-op Network shall be regulated on the
  basis of annual agreements;

-       The East-West activities of ICA Europe shall not interfere or
  compete with activities carried out by ICA members, unless
  requested by the concerned member(s).  (This is a policy
  already adopted by the Co-op Network.);

-       ICA Europe should take no cost or risk in the concrete project
  activities of the Co-op Network;

-       The short-term need for legislation in Eastern and Central
  Europe should be a concern of the European programme of the
  ICA Secretariat.

Interventions:  Walker (Representative, Germany), Thordarson (ICA), Espriu
(Representative, Spain).

The recommendations of the European Advisory Council were accepted without

Working Group II on External Issues

Giuliano Vecchi (Representative, Italy) reported on the four activities
which had been carried out under the auspices of this Working Group, which
he had coordinated, since September 1993.  The Working Group had
recommended to the European Advisory Council that:

The proposed Image Survey of opinion-leaders should not be continued as an
ICA activity, but should be implemented by national movements as desired.
The issue of co-operative image would be pursued through the project on

The Co-operative Communications project, based on collaboration with the
Inter-Press Service and on the establishment of electronic communications
systems, should be continued.

The Co-operative Schools project, based on the collection of present
national experiences and preparation of a Co-op Day text, should be

The issue of Co-operative Promotion should be regarded as part of the
on-going work of the ICA at the global level, and should be removed from
the current work programme of ICA Europe.

The Chairman reported that the European Advisory Council had agreed that
work on two issues (Co-operative Communications and Schools) should be
continued until September 1995.  The report was approved without dissent.

Future Priorities and Working Methods

Graham Melmoth noted that the evolution of ICA Europe had been difficult
due to the many complex issues involved, but that definite signs of
progress could now be seen.  The development of Rules and Procedures had
been particularly complicated due to the members' different perceptions and
last-minute suggestions; nevertheless, ICA Europe now has a set of
Provisional Rules to guide its work during the next year.

The Chairman emphasised the importance of good relations between
ICA, the sectoral associations, and the specialised bodies.  From the
outset, he said, ICA has expressed a desire to co-operate in finding
a mutually-beneficial modus vivendi.  The progress to date is a
tribute to the good will of all parties.  The next step should be for
ICA to enter into a specific Memorandum of Understanding with the
CCACC and/or its members.

Mr. Melmoth said that he and the European Advisory Council fully
supported the new relationship between ICA and the Co-op Network,
which should work to mutual advantage.

He indicated that ICA's grant application to DG XXIII had been delayed due
to changes on both sides, but that it would be pursued.

Mr. Melmoth informed participants that the European Advisory Council had
recommended that the two Working Groups be dissolved (with thanks to their
group leaders, who would continue to be available to ICA Europe as
advisers), and that their on-going priority activities should report
directly to the new European Council through its Secretary, Arsenio

Intervention:  Rauter (Representative, Austria).

The recommendations of the European Advisory Council were approved.

Election of the ICA European Council

In accordance with the voting procedure previously distributed to the
participants, Mr. Melmoth requested the ICA President to take the chair.

Mr. Marcus noted that only one nomination had been received for Chairman of
the European Council, and declared that Graham Melmoth, U.K., was elected
as Chairman.

Mr. Melmoth, resuming the chair, noted that only one nomination had been
received for Vice-Chairman of the Council, and declared that Ota Karen,
Czech Republic, was elected as Vice-Chairman.

A secret vote was then conducted for election of the 10 remaining Council
members from among 17 candidates.  The chairman of the ICA's Audit and
Control Committee, Dr. Markus Schelker, supervised the counting of ballots
and subsequently announced the successful candidates, based on a total of
199 eligible ballots:

Raija Itkonen, Finland                       185
Etienne Pflimlin, France                    173
Rolf Trodin, Sweden                        169
Knud Rasmussen, Denmark             167
Pal Bartus, Hungary                         162
Jean-Francois Hoffelt, Belgium        126
Giuliano Vecchi, Italy                         96
Marian Rybar, Slovakia                      93
Valentin Ermakov, Russia                   91
Francisco Sanz, Spain                       90

Co-operative Principles and Declaration for the 21st Century

Dr. Ian MacPherson highlighted the draft version of his report-the
Identity Statement, Background Paper, and Declaration-which had been
circulated in the ICA Review, Vol. 87, Number 3.  He said that, on
the basis of reaction received from ICA members and the Regional
Assemblies, he would prepare a final version in January 1995 for
approval of the ICA Board, which would then submit the document to
the Manchester Congress.

Interventions:  Pancho Ivanov (Representative, Bulgaria), Etienne
Pflimlin (Representative, France), Pal Szilvasan (Representative,
Hungary), Katarina Apelqvist (Observer, Sweden), Olle Hakelius
(Representative, Sweden), Dr. Jose Espriu (Representative, Spain).

The Chairman thanked Dr. MacPherson for his report, and encouraged
participants to communicate any further views to him in writing.

=46uture Meetings

The Chairman informed participants that it was planned to organise a
special European Regional Assembly in Manchester at the time of the ICA
Centennial Congress in September 1995.

Any Other Business

Mr. Nishi of the Osaka Izumi Consumer Co-op informed participants
about the development of their "Rochdale Club", designed to provide
social and cultural services for members of the co-operative.  He
reported that several European movements had expressed interest in
establishing similar clubs.


There being no further business, the Chairman expressed his
appreciation to the participants for contributing to this historic
first meeting of the ICA Regional Assembly for Europe, complimented
the host movement for its major contribution, thanked the staff and
interpreters, and closed the meeting.