ICA: Regional Assembly Minutes, 1994


    This document has been made available in electronic format

         by the International Co-operative Alliance ICA 

                         15 September 1995

                   ICA Regional Assembly for Europe


               Prague, Czech Republic - 26-27 October 1994


A. 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.

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

Mr. 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.

B. Official Business

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

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

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.

C. 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:

1. 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 GroupI.

2. The short-term report on East-West relations, undertaken by
Professor Hans Munkner, 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.)

3. 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.

4. 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

5. The report on North-South issues, prepared by Bjoern
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

6. 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, Austria).

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:  Wuelker (Representative, Germany), Thordarson
(ICA), Espriu (Representative, Spain).

The recommendations of the European Advisory Council were
accepted without dissent.

D. 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:

1. 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 Communications.

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

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

4. 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

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.

E. 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

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
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

F. 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

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

G. 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

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.

H. Future 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.

I. 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

J. Closing

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.