A cooperative is an autonomous association of persons united to meet common economic, social, and cultural goals. They achieve their objectives through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.
Cooperatives are enterprises that serve the needs of their members who contribute to their capital.
The Communication on the promotion of co-operative societies in Europe (2004) focuses on 3 main issues
The Working Group on Cooperatives was established in 2013 to assess the specific needs of cooperative enterprises with regard to a wide variety of issues such as the appropriate EU regulatory framework, the identification of barriers at national level and the internationalisation of cooperatives.
Upon the recommendations of the Working Group, 2 pilot projects are being implemented: 'Business transfers to employees creating a cooperative' and 'Reduction of youth unemployment and the setup of cooperatives'.
Business transfers to employees creating a cooperative
This project aims to make it easier to transfer businesses to employees/workers in a cooperative. It will also raise awareness about the benefits of a cooperative model. 2 consortia have been chosen to implement the project. It started in April 2016.
Reduction of youth unemployment and the setup of cooperatives
This project will support the development of entrepreneurship education, focusing on cooperatives. It will encourage cooperatives to employ young people and promote start-ups. This will help provide youth employment and ensure the generational renewal of cooperatives. 2 consortia have been chosen to implement the project. The project started in April 2017.
Phase 2 began in March 2020.
See the consortia selected to implement the project.
The European Cooperative Society is an optional legal form of a cooperative. It aims to facilitate cooperatives' cross-border and trans-national activities. An SCE must unite residents from more than one EU country.