December 5, 2016 9h-17h. Conference in the European Economic and Social Committee, Brussels

EESC Building – Room VMA 3 (2nd floor); 2 rue Van Maerlant – 1040 – Brussels

Join Michel Bauwens, myself and others in this special event co-organised by La Coop des Communs, Confrontations Europe, P2P Foundation, SMart, Ouishare and Cecop. 



Digital platforms are powerful tools for matching needs, cooperation and sharing information. However, they raise property and governance issues. Most digital industries advocate for sharing, decentralization and democratic values and practices, but they are also subjected to « netarchic » monopolies, according to Michel Bauwens (Peer to Peer Foundation).

Can we do more than describing the dangers of concentration and value chain capture of most powerful digital firms? Can we try to control the situation or, even better, go one step ahead? What kind of solutions can we find relying on “commons »? Can social and solidarity economy (SSE) and “collective” organisations (cooperatives, mutualities, associations…) contribute to fairer solutions?

Nathan Schneider and Trebor Scholz have launched in  November 2015 in New-York a movement and a manifest for platforms « under cooperative control » and redistributing value within the communities, workers and users, who rely on them. This echoes many European initiatives  to that promote a fair and sharing-based economy.

Cooperative model seems to be a way to build a social and fair Internet. The new decentralised and sharing digital practices (such as blockchain) may also contribute to a renewal of cooperation and social and solidarity economy.

How can « open cooperativism platforms» be a part of a new European political project? In what ways could commons and SSE contribute to the creation of new solutions to face the challenges posed by the current economic changes raise? What types of alternatives can they propose? What are the legal frameworks and public policies which could favor these practices: Labour Law, Contract and Competition Law, Data property and protection, Fiscality,

Last but not least… How can we help the new cooperatives and mutuals to grow? How can they be incubated? What kind of business models and funding should be used? How can we encourage the EU to come up with proposals for platform cooperativism? 


8.45: Welcome and registration

9:15 – Opening

9.30-10.00: Keynote speeches:

– European environment and European debates: Luca Jahier, President of the Various Interests Group(Group III) of the EESC.

– Concepts and challengessharing economy, concentration and value chain capture/place and role of cooperation and common-based innovations: Michel Bauwens, P2P Foundation

Platform Cooperativism, message from Nathan Schneider and Trebor Scholz, USA: Lieza Dessein, project officer, SMart

 10.00-12.00: Testimonials of cooperative platforms experiences and reactions of experts and academics:

10- 11: Cooperative platforms experiences:

Moderator:   Sarah de Heusch, project officer,  SMart

–  Data commons: Eric Petrotto, general manager, 1DLab

–  Cooperative platforms in cities: Agnès Grayet, board member, Dynamocoop

–  Cooperative store platforms: Quentin Crespel,  project coordinator, Beescoop  

Barter on line: Samuel Cohen, co-founder, France Barter

–  Collective decisions: Jessy Kate Schindler, member, Enspiral

 11–12: Identification of issues to be addressed during the afternoon.

Moderator: Stacco Troncoso, P2P Foundation

– Regulating p2p markets: platform liability, service providers and consumer protection: Guido Smorto, professor of comparative law, Palermo

– Data as common in the sharing economy: Bruno Carballa, PHd economy, CEPN, Paris XIII University

– Business models and fundings for the commons: Susana Martín Belmonte, Monetary economist at the Institute of Social Currency, Madrid

– Labor, social protection, governance: Pat Conaty, Research Associate, Co-operatives UK

12h00 – 13 h30: lunch at the EESC cafeteria

13.30-16.40: The contribution of these practices for the political project and the support expected:

13.30-14.30:  Overview on the European opinions, views and regulations.

Carole Ulmer, Director of studies, Confrontations Europe et Marguerite Grandjean, Director of Studies at OuiShare, foresight expert for the European Commission (DG RTD)

Reactions: Neil Kay, Policy Officer, DG GROW, Policy Officer, E3: Digitalisation of the single market and Fabrizio Sestini, Senior Expert, DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology,  E3 Next Generation Internet

 14.30-16.40: How can and should cooperative practices be supported? building proposals:

Moderator: Nicole Alix, chairwoman, La Coop des Communs

14h30-15h40- Inputs and proposals:

Cooperative platforms in the UE, study: Louis Cousin, project coordinator, Coop Europe.

– Work and the right to experiment with the partner-State:  Sandrino Graceffa, chief executive, SMart

Supportive legal frameworks and public policies; alliances and supports, towards proposals, with Bruno Roelants Secretary General CECOP/CICOPA and Benjamin Coriat, professor of economics, Paris 13, “Encommuns” research programme

15.40- 16.40: feedbacks, questions, clarifications from participants

16.40–17.15: Next steps: Which public policy, National, European, International? proposals feedbacks

Round table with

Moderator: Anne Macey, déléguée générale, Confrontations Europe

Mayo Fuster Morell,  Barcelona 

Thiebaut Weber, Confederal Secretary, ETUC

Erdmuthe Klaer, Deputy Secretary General, REVES

Simel Esim, Programme Manager, Cooperatives Unit, International Labour Organization (ILO)





Photo by kirainet

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