In 2010, in collaboration with the Federation of Trentino Cooperatives, Euricse established a series of Forums (Cantieri - Italian word that means “building yards”) around the main sectors of activity in which Trentino cooperatives are engaged in an effort to inform the research, training and consulting activities of Euricse with first-hand, detailed knowledge of the issues central to the life of the cooperative movement.
These working groups consist in confidential meetings in which representatives of cooperatives can communicate and identify common problems, as well as issues that are strategically relevant to the sector. In addition to offering a space for the meetings, Euricse facilitates the discussions and secures, for each key topic identified by the participants, input from both experts in the topics as well as its own research activities.
A group composed of 10 to 15 people for each sector, chosen based on the expertise they have developed in the course of their activity, has found in the Cantieri a place to have informal and confidential conversations about issues affecting the future of cooperation: from governance to organizational models, from the role of the members to the areas with growth potential, from the relationship with the local community to their international dimension. The Cantieri, therefore, have turned out to be a very useful tool both for their participants, who have the opportunity to explore the themes of relevance to them, and for Euricse, whose research agenda is informed by these discussions.
Three Cantieri have been launched so far: one for agricultural cooperatives, one for credit cooperatives, and one for social, housing and construction cooperatives centred on issues of social housing.
In the context of the working group on social housing, the mayor of Trento and the CEO of Euricse signed a memorandum of understanding outlining a collaboration to identify housing needs, collect best practices around social housing, both in Italy and internationally, and identify areas where it would be possible to develop social housing projects involving Trentino cooperatives. The working group is evaluating the possibility of establishing a similar collaboration with the city of Rovereto, delving further into the various aspects of the topic through a series of events and conference.
The cooperative credit working group discussed several issues, among which the recent changes stemming from the modification of the Basil Accords (which in turn were the subject of a conference that Euricse organized in May 2011) and the creation of a system of indicators that will identify what makes for a “good” cooperative credit institution today.
In 2010, the activities of the agricultural work group led to the writing of two position papers regarding the reform of the Community Agricultural Policy, and to a meeting regarding this issue with the Honourable Paolo De Castro, President of the Agriculture and rural development commission of the European Parliament. Furthermore, the working group tackled the issue of statutory autonomy of cooperatives within the context of member withdrawal, which led to the conducting of a study on this topic by professor Antonio Fici.