Message to delegates at General Assembly of Coops Europe, held in an hybrid format (in Brussels, phisically, and on line), last 25th May:
“It is a real honour for me to extend you this greeting on such a special day as the one you are celebrating.
In my four years as President of the International Cooperative Alliance, I have visited practically every country in your region and have been able to confirm the enormous potential of each of its members.
The birthplace of modern cooperativism and the driving force behind many achivements in different sectors over almost two centuries, Europe continues to be a keystone of the cooperative doctrine and is a lighthouse for further deepening our Identity during this complex time we are living.
Our strong commitment to peace, to the defence of the planet and to the exercise of democracy in the different spheres of political and social life in our communities, go hand in hand with the construction of an economy with decent work, gender equality and sustainable growth for all people, leaving no one behind.
That is why our business model is more relevant today than ever and is a key tool to help us overcome the health, environmental, economic and social crisis we are going through globally.
We cannot build a sustainable future without enterprises that have in their DNA the social, economic and environmental responsibility that this type of development requires.
I am also referring to a cooperative perspective on digital transformation, innovation and the introduction of new technologies in the processes of production, distribution and consumption of goods and services.
I am talking about the proven track record and the answers we have today to address the accelerated energy transition we face.
I am talking about the capacity of our production and consumption model to tackle the food crisis that is affecting more and more people.
I am talking about the opportunity to expand the associated work as a way to respond to the abrupt changes in the labour market, which impact especially on the new generations.
I am talking about the urgency of walking the path of peace, of positive peace, as we cooperativists from all over the world have agreed, in order to put an end once and for all to the violence and conflicts that cause displacement, suffering, shortages and enormous pain to millions of people.
Those of us who have the responsibility today to build that future are called to deepen our Co-operative Identity, to be proud of the rich history of our movement and to consolidate the links between the different sectors and regions that constitute our large co-operative family on a global scale.
Indeed, we are more than one billion members associated with three million cooperatives, on every continent..
We have the largest global network of enterprises rooted in their territories and linked, at the same time, by a common philosophy, based on principles and values forged over many decades by thousands and thousands of co-operators from different cultural, ethnic, economic and social backgrounds.
That is the richness of our Identity and that is what makes us a leading actor in this complex scenario.
As your President said a few weeks ago, ours is a movement oriented towards common understanding, mutual respect, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity, always putting people at the centre of the stage..
Dear friends of Europe, I am sure that, together, we can continue to move towards the common horizon that we need and want for the rest of society.
The future of Europe and of every region of our planet Earth, of our Common Home, lies in an economy centred on people and the environment, respectful of freedoms, oriented towards the common good and strongly committed to peace.”