The candidate to chair the organization that represents the global cooperative movement spoke with leaders from six European countries, where he exchanged views and received support for their platform, for the General Assembly on November in Kuala Lumpur.

The President of the Cooperative Confederation of the Argentine Republic, Ariel Guarco, with the youth representative Gabriela Buffa, began his tour on September 3th in Madrid, where he met with the Spanish Business Confederation of Social Economy (Cepes).

There he spoke with Juan Antonio Pedreño, Cicopa’s President, Manuel Mariscal, and the president of CEPES and of the Spanish Confederation of Associated Labor Cooperatives (Coceta); the Minister of Europe Co-operatives and vice-president of COCETA, Malena Riudavets; COCETA’s Director, Paloma Arroyo; the representative of Basque cooperatives Konfecoop, Lorea Soldevilla; the president of the workers cooperatives of Andalusia (FAECTA), Luis Miguel Jurado; the director and the person on charge of International Relations in CEPES, Carmen Comos Tovar and Carlos Lozano; and the representatives of the Espriu Foundation of Social Economy and Health, Carlos Zarco and José Pérez.

“We share with the Spanish co-operative movement diagnoses and visions about cooperativism at a global level. We want an Alliance for everyone and for that, the commitment has to be collective, so it is very positive that thay have expressed their support to the platform we are presenting”, said Guarco.

On the next day, he held a meeting with leaders of the Italian cooperative movement, who also expressed their support and willingness to cooperate. “We have found points in common regarding the role of the movement at international level, putting our principles into action”, said the president of Cooperar.

During his visit in Rome, he spoke with Maurizio Gardini, President of Confcooperative and Alleanza delle Cooperative Italiane, Rosario Altieri, President of the Associazione Generale Cooperative Italiane (AGCI) and Co-President of Alleanza delle Cooperative Italiane, Mauro Lusetti, President of Legacoop and Co-President of Alleanza delle Cooperative Italiane and Carlo Scarzanella, Vice-President of AGCI, who is also an ICA Board Member, among other referents.

“We had a very interesting conversation focusing on the practice of cooperative principles as a way of showing our difference. The Italian cooperative movement shows a great willingness to work in the international arena and to help other countries. We agree on the need to establish development policies and to revert with greater economic democracy the problems that affect our societies”, said Guarco. Together with the President of the Auxilium Cooperative, Angelo Chiorazzo, he visited Castelnuovo, a reception and accompaniment center for migrant families.

On September 6th he was in Manchester, UK, where he met with the Board of Directors of Cooperatives UK. “We had an excellent and warm meeting. We talked about the challenges of the global movement and the role of the Alliance in the international scenario with policies that, for example, promotes the strengthening of national organizations encouraging a greater involvement of members.”

In addition, he presented the trajectory, diversity and potential of Argentine cooperative movement at the Co-operative Councils Innovation Network annual conference, a network that gathers Municipal Councils and seeks to promote public policies at local level based on cooperative values. There he talked with its President, Sharon Taylor, who was very interested in the Cooperative Municipalities Network of Argentina.

The next day he arrived at France, where he visited the Cooperative Bank Crédit Mutuel, which has more than 7.5 million members. He met with its Honorary President, Etienne Pflimlin; its director, Isabelle Ferrand, and the director of Institutional Relations, Gérard Leseul. “We shared an excellent meeting. The challenge of being close to our associates and promoting cooperative principles and values was at the heart of our conversation.”

He also talked to Florence Raineix, National Federation of Savings Banks Caisse d’Epargne’ Director-general and candidate for the Board of the International Cooperative Alliance; with Olivier Beaume, Director of Institutional and International training; and Jean-Louis Bancel, President of Cooperatives Europe, the national organization Coop FR and Vice-presidents of the Alliance.

“With them and other referents of the French cooperative movement, we talked about cooperative models and their role in improving the quality of life in our communities. They told us about numerous international cooperation projects, talked about the importance of cooperative training and agreed on which is the role of cooperativism at global level.”

During this visit to Coop FR, they met with Cyrille Langendorff, Director of International Affairs for Crédit Coopératif. He, like all other European hosts, received as a present for their hospitality, an organic tea produced by the Agricultural Cooperative Ruiz de Montoya, from Misiones, Argentina.

Finally, Guarco and Buffa had the opportunity to dialogue with Sébastien Chaillou, candidate to lead the Alliance’s global youth network. “We address the concern about how to involve more youth, consolidate national networks in different countries, the importance of giving continuity to the projects and we transmit our commitment to continue supporting the youth network worldwide”, said the candidate.

On the fifth stop, they were welcomed by Eckhard Ott, Andreas Kappes, Nina Hildebrandt and Katharina Rohde, of the German Confederation of Cooperatives (DGRV), with whom they shared the characteristics of the Argentine and German cooperative movements. The director of national and regional Consumer Cooperative Mathias Fiedler thanked the visit and wished the candidate success in the face of the assembly to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on November 17.

On the last scale, they met with the authorities of the Polish cooperative movement Jerzy Jankowski and Mieczyslaw Grodzki, of the National Cooperative Council; Wiktor Kaminski, of the National Association of Savings and Credit Cooperatives; Adam Piechowski, of the National Council and of the Cooperative Institute of Investigations; and Janusz Paszkowski, president of the Union of Labor Cooperatives.

“We had the chance to know very closely the Polish cooperative movement, whose leaders shared with us their concerns, proposals and expectations regarding the Alliance and the desire to work together.” The visitors also visited a museum that reflects the trajectory of the different sectors of the cooperativism in Poland. “I am grateful for the hospitality, the acknowledgments that I received and the support they gave to our proposal”, said Guarco.

The president of Cooperar, until now the only candidate to preside the International Cooperative Alliance, has already received the support of the American continent and is in contact with leaders from Africa, where he was on May, and from Asia-Pacific, to meet close to the concerns and priorities of the members of the organization.

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