An EU statute for mutual societies to help economic growth

Members of the Committee on Legal Affairs called on Tuesday for a statute for European mutual societies. These organisations provide services, such as insurance, to their members – mostly workers – on the basis of solidarity. Main objective of this statute would be boosting social economy and avoiding fragmentation of mutual societies within member states.

“The world of mutual societies and their recognition could become a contribution for the growth of European economy. The call for a statute it is not just a social argument: it is an economic argument”, said Member responsible for the file Luigi Berlinguer (S&D, IT). By approving this legislative initiative with 22 votes in favour and 1 abstention, committee members ask the Commission to put forward a legislative proposal setting up the proposed statute.

A sustainable alternative to commercial providers

A statute for a European mutual society would enable all national mutual societies to act at EU scale. The committee sent to the Commission four recommendations on the objective, scope and elements of the statute and rules for the governance of the EU mutual society, as basis for a legislative proposal.

According to the approved text, EU mutual societies would be free to decide what services to provide, with social and health insurance and granting of loans still to remain their core business. They should also act as a cost-effective and sustainable alternative to commercial service providers, committee members say.

Democracy, mutuality and solidarity

The European mutual society should spread the idea of solidarity as core value, say MEPs. Consequently, the statute should regulate the internal democracy of the body where decisions are to be taken collectively for the benefit of all of its members, the real owners of the organisation.

With this legislative initiative, committee members recognise the importance of mutual societies – that represent 25% of the insurance market and provide services to 160 million European citizens.

Background

The first draft statute for a European mutual society was presented by the Commission in 1991, but stalled in the Council until 2006 and then was withdrawn. One of the main problems was the lack of national regulation in some of the Member states. Since then, the committee on legal affairs has called several times on the Commission to draft another proposal. “The situation is more encouraging than the one at the time when the regulation was withdrawn”, said Berlinguer.

In the chair: Evelyn Regner (S&D, AT)

Procedure: legislative initiative

 

Links

– Draft report

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2009_2014/documents/juri/pr/914/914795/914795en.pdf

– Video recording of debate (21.01.2013)

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ep-live/it/committees/video?event=20130121-1500-COMMITTEE-JURI&category=COMMITTEE&format=wmv

– Profile of rapporteur Luigi Berlinguer (S&D, IT)

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meps/en/97156/LUIGI_BERLINGUER.html

– Procedure file

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/ficheprocedure.do?reference=2012/2039(INI)&l=en

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