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Despite the difficulties and credit problems that we are facing just now, cooperatives have managed to tackle shortcomings and obtain good results.
First, Cooperatives are real companies operating in competitive markets and competing under market rules.
Like any other company they have to face the two key elements affecting all business and industry: overcoming the fall in demand and overcome the fall in bank credit.
Access to capital and tailored finance instruments are priorities for cooperatives and social enterprises.
There is a new conscience of corporate social responsibility, CSR, slowly enlarging and touching other kind of companies: If you take the example of any product: food, industry, services….they are all stakeholders who benefit from a win-win situation, whereas this is not the case for a traditional form of enterprise.
Our message to the European Institutions is clear: that both EU and national policies should create a level playing field allowing social entrepreneurship and cooperatives to compete with other forms of enterprises without giving up their aims and working methods.
And I know very well that there are still disadvantages on Member States level.
From the EESC we want to convey the message that this specific production and management model contributes to a dynamic and positive concept of restructuring which touches management, ownership models, business transfers, financial mechanisms, employment and social policies as well as to territorial cohesion.
We want to contribute to raising awareness of their role as a sustainable, inclusive, long term approach form of enterprise.