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Major conference highlights the important role of mutuals in Europe's economic recovery

2nd October 2012

Following on from the major European conference which took place last week on the future of the European mutual sector, attended by Benenden Healthcare, please see the below release from the Association Internationale de la Mutualite (AIM) outlining the key conclusions from the discussions.

‘Mutuals have an important social role to play as part of Europe’s recovery from the economic crisis’, say MEPs

The conclusions from a major conference on European mutuals were welcomed by the Association Internationale de la Mutualite (AIM).

The conference, “Mutuals add value to Europe”, organised by Luigi Berlinguer (Member of the European Parliament and 1st Vice-President of the Committee on Legal Affairs) in collaboration with AIM and AMICE was delivered on 26th September 2012 at the European Parliament.

Mr. Berlinguer’s presentation to MEPs present was clear - that the economic and financial situation in 2012 is different to the one in 2006 and therefore calls for a reconciliation of the market and the European social model. Indeed, besides differing field of activities, mutuals across Europe have a strong social role. This was highlighted in the conference through several case studies from France, Belgium and Slovenia.

The large diversity of mutuals in Europe is a richness to safeguard – this was also well illustrated with several examples from UK, Italy, Germany and Sweden. Beyond their market diversity, mutuals share the same principles - solidarity, autonomy and democracy. Accordingly, these enterprises with their specific characteristics can help to overcome the crisis and are essential to renew a competitive and social Europe within the new economic and social environment.

AIM welcomes the open-minded position of the MEPs about the conclusions of the European Parliament study “The role of mutual societies in the 21st century” (2011) and of the European Commission “Study on the current situation and prospects of mutuals in Europe” (forthcoming 2012), presented by Panteia.

AIM looks forward to the official publication of the European Commission Study on mutuals, as well as to the forthcoming consultation on the conclusions of this report announced by the representative of the Cabinet of Mr. Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship.

AIM reiterates its strong advocacy for the creation of a ‘European Mutual Statute’, in order to respect and nurture diversity. Crucially a European Mutual Statute would support mutuals that want to work together in partnership across EU borders whilst remaining true to their ethos and governance. Entrepreneurial spirit, respect and solidarity are at the heart of mutuality and only with a European Mutual Statute can mutuals work in partnership to operate as mutuals not Public Limited Companies. And with a European Mutual Statute, the concept of mutual can be promoted and used in countries where the mutuals have limited activities or do not exist at all. 

The European Union cannot and must not ignore the voice of one third of the European population who are members of a mutual.

 

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