Former European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, Antonio Tajani was elected president of the European Parliament. The Italian MEP, who represented the European People’s Party (EPP) centre right group, was elected with 351 votes, against 282 for Gianni Pittella (Italy) from Socialists and Democrats (S&D). Both politicians had expressed support for co-operative enterprises.
While at the European Commission, Mr Tajani recognised the considerable potential of cooperatives and set up in 2013 a Working Group on Cooperatives to assess the specific needs of cooperative enterprises with regard to several issues, including the appropriate EU regulatory framework, the identification of barriers at national level and the internationalisation of cooperatives.
The group drafted concrete recommendations on entrepreneurial education, financing and development of specific business support services for cooperatives, towards the European Commission, national governments and stakeholder organisations.
Cooperatives Europe, the European office of the International Co-operative Alliance, welcomed the election of Antonio Tajani.
Dirk Lehnhoff, president of Cooperatives Europe, commented: “As a supporter of the social economy model and as an ex-Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, we hope that Mr Tajani’s Presidency will bring further visibility and recognition to cooperative entrepreneurship. Co-operative enterprises put citizens at the heart of their operations. Thus Mr Tajani’s strong commitment to serving the people of Europe and the role of the Parliament in representation of the citizens should encourage and enhance dialogue between the co-operative movement and the EU Parliament. We look forward to working with him."