In his speech, Petar Stefanov – CCW President shared his view, that:
“…throughout the world, co-operatives have made a significant contribution to sustainable economic development and to ensuring stability in the labor market. Co-operatives belong to their members, are managed by them and serve their interests, which allows effective solution of economic tasks, the development of social and human capital and, all the while, encourages people co-operate and help each other.”
Despite the fact that co-operatives are an important and significant partner in the global economy, they have not yet received the due recognition.
Petar Stefanov emphasized the fact that co-operatives very often face complex conditions which hinder their development. These conditions are the result of an inadequate legal framework and inappropriate market mechanisms and policies. Focus was placed on the key factor in the development of the co-operative business model, namely the harmonization of co-operative legislation at both European and global level.
The lack of a single legal framework for co-operatives has two main consequences: limited transparency in the application of co-operative principles and values; and, no less importantly, obstruction of the development of the co-operative model and the potential business collaboration amongst co-operatives from different countries in Europe and the world. This process is of utmost importance for enhancing the visibility, significance and contribution of co-operative businesses to national governments and institutions.
In conclusion, the panelists unanimously expressed the hope that the results of the 21st St. Petersburg International Economic Forum will boost further development of the co-operative movement in Russia, contribute to the intensification of co-operation amongst co-operatives at European and global level and encourage innovation in development of the co-operative sector.