On the road to the 2nd GA of the YECN

Like the two previous years in Paris then Brussels, the Young European Cooperators Network will have it general assembly in the same place and time than the Cooperatives Europe’s GA. It’ll take place in Malta the 27th - 28th of April. More than sixty young cooperators are expected.

For YECN this GA will be an important and democratic event. Among several points, one of the main ones will be the creation of the support “task force” for national youth coop networks. The creation of this task force was decided during the autumn seminar of the YECN (host in Mondragon). Already two countries have asked for support their local initiatives (Netherlands and Denmark). It’ll be also during this time than half of the coordination board will be elected.

The YECN is also involved in the Cooperatives Europe’s GA. We co-organize a workshop about “modernizing and mainstreaming cooperative education”. In consistency with principle 5, European cooperative movements have developed number of resources and actions to promote and educate about the cooperative model. On the other hand, cooperative entrepreneurs have also constantly innovated and experimented new approaches and teaching/training methodologies, inspired from a broader social dynamic aiming for more participation and collaborative thinking. This workshop will aim at exchanging on tools and experiences among established institutions and young entrepreneurs, around two main challenges: mainstreaming the cooperative education, and modernizing its tools and methods. In addition of this workshop YECN and Cooperatives Europe answered together to European Union call on the same idea.

YECN is also involved in a common work with Cooperatives Europe on collaborative economy; this work will be the topic of another workshop during the GA. In Europe, as in the whole world, collaborative economy and “uberization” is a main issue for both coop and youth. The collaborative economy is booming across the European continent. This trend creates economic and social opportunities, but the rise of collaborative economy also stems a set of risks including: Fostering inequalities, through dismantlement of social benefits and rights of mostly independent workers, and higher concentration of wealth with poor redistribution of created value.

In this context, the cooperative movement needs to proactively invest the collaborative economy. An advocacy work should be initiated by Cooperatives Europe, in close relation with its members. Messages and activities developed in this framework should be consistent with the European institutions’ priorities and agendas. This requires that a preliminary work be conducted, to get a understanding of ongoing discussions and debates and to assess where and how the cooperative model could be efficiently promoted.

The working group will propose two axes of work during GA: - Encouraging regulations especially on topics such as data protection, and social rights; - Promoting a sound model of collaborative economy, creating digital ecosystems based on shared property and ensuring social benefits.

For YECN those two workshop and network's GA are part of the same idea to promote cooperative model in the most practical and efficient way: organizing local communities, solve an issue by cooperation and learning by doing.