The 22nd IGA annual conference will take place on Thursday, 15 November 2018, at the Eurac in Bolzano. Topic: "An idea as a driving force for the future?" read more

The 14th IGA Convention took place on 13 November 2009 in Grainau

At the 14th convention of the International Institute of Alpine Cooperative Research in November 2009, which took place at the academy of the GVB in Grainau near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the question of the distortion of competition was discussed from a new point of view, namely the view of the supply markets. According to Mr Arnulf Perkounigg, IGA chairman, this view was wrongly neglected in former discussions. However, to avoid distortions of competition on delivery markets, it is necessary to make sure that within supply markets basic conditions are the same and constitutional disadvantages may be neutralised. Due to their legal assignment for promotion, cooperatives are burdened additionally and hence disadvantaged when comparing enterprises from the economic view.

The reaction of Prof Peter Welzel from the University of Augsburg to these claims was censorious from a general economic view. In his opinion, there is almost no need for action that justifies special demands to competition policy for cooperative enterprises. Possible competition disadvantages due to cooperative adjustment need to be accepted and balanced with other advantages gained from cooperative acting.

In his pragmatic approach, Mr Hans Tremesberger, executive of the Pinzgau Milch in Maishofen (Salzburg), takes the conditions leading to discrimination of dairy farming in the Alps (higher transportation costs, small business organisations etc.) as given and sees chances in differentiation possibilities (e.g. nature based initial production, particular customer care). In this environment, cooperatives only have the possibility to exist in the market due to quality leadership instead of cost leadership. In his point of view, the demand for compensation of competitive disadvantages, e.g. regarding gathering of milk is justified if one approves area-wide grassland cultivation.

The assistant representative chairman of the Bavarian Cooperative Association Mr Erhard Gschrey handles this issue from the view of the credit services sector in which – due to the actual financial crises – the support benefits by public authorities led to substantial competition distortions. The business model of local oriented operation of credit cooperatives played an essential role as stability factor in overcoming the crises and may not be discriminated against by governmental intervention.

At the closing panel and audience discussion, moderated by advocate Ms Regina Wenninger, the different positions were discussed intensively and supplemented by Dr Klaus Alois Hein, head of the “Consulting Milk Goods Services” department at the Bavarian Cooperative Association, as well as by Dr Heiner Nicolussi-Leck, chairman of the Raiffeisen Association South Tyrol.

The annual brochure of the cooperative series (volume 15) is in process.

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