On form and substance, Jean-Louis Bancel, President of Coop FR, the representative organization of French cooperative enterprises, believes that the growth pact of the social economy is not up to the challenges.
The Cross: The government presented, on November 29, its Growth Pact of the Social and Solidarity Economy, which it characterizes as the first "Global development strategy for this economy". Does this document live up to your expectations?
Jean-Louis Bancel: On form, first, the government has not optimized its timetable and its political process. He did not really want to engage a process of consultation of the representative bodies of the social and solidarity economy (ESS). This is not so bad, because in the field, the sector is alive. But what was supposed to save time has, in fact, lost.
The high places of the social and solidarity economy
Since the yellow vests crisis, the public authorities claim to have rediscovered the virtues of intermediate bodies. Hopefully! In all, as far as the cooperative world is concerned, we decided to remain constructive, even if the way of acting irritated us. We will therefore send to the High Commissioner in charge of ESS, Christophe Itier, our proposals at the end of January.
Basically, how do you rate this Growth Pact?
J.-L. B.: It is not without interest but remains too fragmentary, too focused on "the first of cordée" compared to the needs of ground. The announced objective of presenting a global vision of the sector is not recognized: each subject is viewed independently, and too often under the sole prism of the absence of budgetary cost for the State. The feeling of pointillism dominates, there is a problem of coherence and counterpart to the "social contract" that the state wants to pass with the ESS.
As a result, for now, I do not see how this Pact could repair the considerable damage previously committed, such as the calling into question of subsidized contracts or the mistakes of taxation. For example, it took the co-operative sector to scream loudly for two attacks against the unchangeable reserves of cooperatives in the finance bill. All this gives the feeling of a "Sapeur Camember" policy by trying to plug a hole that one has dug himself.
Are there, in your opinion, forgotten whole areas in this Growth Pact?
J.-L. B.: With all that With regard to French impact, the government gives pride of place to what is dear to the eyes of the President of the Republic, the "start-up nation". Why not, but this is the reality of the entire French social and solidarity economy. It plays, for example, a considerable role in the territories but there is little concrete thing on this point in the Growth Pact.
Similarly, the government has chosen to link the ESS to the Ministry of Ecological and Solidarity Transition. Why not, but why is there no link in this plan between ESS and transition issues? The cooperative world will make proposals in this area.
I also find that there is a lack of education around the social and solidarity economy at an early age as another way of undertaking and governing businesses.
What do you think of the desire to reorganize the representative bodies of the ESS?
J.-L. B.: I think this is the business of civil society, not the government. We do not choose our interlocutors in government, nor do they choose theirs. As I said to the High Commissioner, Christophe Itier: in a democracy, the government has the right to say that the current organization is not in its eyes the best, not impose its solution.
What do you propose to move forward?
J.-L. B.: We will make proposals, like the other SSE families, by the end of January. We will make our proposals public; I do not doubt that they may have an interest in the context of the great consultation that the President of the Republic wants to engage.
Collected by Séverin Husson