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History of Basque Cooperative Movement

The Basque Cooperative Movement is defined by its large number of Worker Cooperatives and for having in its midst the international reference, namely, the cooperatives that comprise Mondragon Corporation. It is made up by the Basque Cooperative Confederation, the sectoral Federations and the Higher Council of Basque Cooperatives for the defence and promotion of the interests of Basque cooperatives.

The Basque Cooperatives, at the late 19th century and early 20th century, focused their activity on services, mainly consumption, not only because of the need for less investment, but also the feeling of unfair dealings from existing trade. They emerged from a local perspective, motived by people who discovered the possibility of meetting needs through self-organisation.

Result of the success of the primary idea and the many needs, the scope extended to housing and agricultural cooperatives,... and gradually production, health care, credit and education cooperatives began to emerge.

Modern cooperativism emerged side-by-side with industrialization, a reaction to the established order, under ideological influences and aspiring to create a new economic-social system. Today, the Cooperatives that are set up in the Basque Country are almost all Work Ownership.


Due to the Basque Law of Cooperatives of 1982, the CSCE - Higher Council of Cooperatives of Euskadi was constituted in 1983. The Cooperatives present in the different economic sectors, also proceed to organize themselves into sectoral Federations to defend their interests and their representation.

1988  Basque Consumer Cooperatives Federation
1989  Basque Agricultural Cooperatives Federation
1989  Basque Banking Cooperatives Federation
1989  Basque Worker Owner Cooperatives Federation
1990  Basque Teaching Cooperatives Federation
1992  Basque Haulier Cooperatives Federation

The Basque Cooperative Movement actively collaborates in the drafting of the Law of Cooperatives of 1993, which anticipates a single organization of representation and development. Since 1996 the Basque Cooperativism is structured as a whole around Konfekoop - Basque Cooperatives Confederation. It used to be made up of the 6 Federations, but with the aim of synergies and combining services, in 2006 began a process of merge several Federations. This resulted in Konfekoop comprising the 3 Federations that came out of that process:

  • Basque Agricultural Cooperatives Federation
  • Basque Haulier Cooperatives Federation
  • Erkide - Basque Worker Owner, Teaching, Consumer and Banking Cooperatives Federation


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