UĦM, in collaboration with MEUSAC and EZA, organized a seminar spread over two days  between 11 and 12 April 2014 covering “Innovative Instruments to Address Youth Unemployment”.

The seminar was attended by a number of European Trade Union leaders as well as candidates for the European Parliament, Ministers and various members of the Maltese Parliament.  The speakers and various panels discussed different initiatives in Europe that focus on youth unemployment.

Mr Rolan Micallef Attard, CEO of the Malta Co-operative Federation, addressed the assembly on “The application of the social cooperative model in Malta to address youth unemployment and precarious work”.   Mr. Micallef Attard covered a number of initiatives that the Federation and the UĦM have collaboratively been working upon to try to curb youth unemployment and precarious work in Malta through the introduction of a specific legislation on social co-operative enterprises.

The presentation illustrated in the main:

  • Why social co-operative enterprises could be of benefit to the Maltese society,
  • The target industry sectors wherein social enterprises could strive,
  • How vulnerable, disabled and disadvantaged persons could benefit from this initiatives.

Mr. Micallef Attard illustrated the benefits co-operatives and social co-operatives could bring to the society once the Maltese  government introduces the necessary changes to the co-operative legislation that would allow co-operatives to be formed with a minimum of three members.  A country by country comparative analyses was presented.  This showed that the majority of EU member states with a GDP per capita which is healthier than that of Malta have adopted this minimum requirement in their legislation and are now reaping the anticipated advantages in their economies.  The Federation’s CEO illustrated how micro finance, (possibly provided through a co-operative bank, currently not allowed to operate in Malta under the Banking Act) and the fair funding of the co-operative Federations could assist various social co-operative enterprises through a number of initiatives.

Mr Micallef Attard illustrated a number of proposals which the Federation and the UĦM have presented to government in March 2014 as part of the consultation process to the changes to the Co-operative Societies Act, Cap 442.

Of particular interest to the co-operative movement was another presentation delivered by Dr Nataniele Gennari LLD, an Italian expert in social economy and social co-operatives, who illustrated the effects of the recent changes to the EU legislation with respect to public procurement. He explained the effects of the introduction of this new Directive whereby EU Member States may reserve the right to participate in concession award procedures to sheltered workshops and economic operators whose main aim is the social and professional integration of disabled or disadvantaged persons.

Mr Daniele Fantechi, EU affairs expert at BEurope Ltd, illustrated the online project known as ‘Voice of the Workers‘, a UĦM project part financed by European Union Funds wherein the Malta Co-operative Federation has been contributing articles on co-operative matters to this emagazine on social dialogue.

Mr John Mallia was designated Master of Ceremonies during the whole event.