Communicating The CU Message To EU Officials In Brussels

October 15, 2004

Phone: (608) 395-2000

Madison, WI— The World Council of Credit Unions, Inc. (WOCCU) and its members from Ireland (Irish League of Credit Unions), Great Britain (Association of British Credit Unions) and Poland (National Association of Co-operative Savings and Credit Unions) met last week with 20-25 Member of the European Parliament and key officials from the European Commission. The joint meeting and lobby activities are part of a larger presence that WOCCU is its European members have been undertaking in concert with the Brussels based public affairs firm Policy Action, Ltd.

As part of the series of meetings, WOCCU and its members raised the awareness of the role that credit unions as not for profit, member owned, cooperative financial institutions play in serving their roughly 5 million members within the European Union (EU). The fact that credit unions are not banks and should not be treated as if they were banks was communicated to and received positively by members of the European Parliament and European Commission. Specific issued added during the meetings included a review of Financial Services Action Plan, the draft Consumer Credit Directive and a draft Money Laundering Directive. As a new ascension country into the EU, this was the first opportunity for the Polish movement to make its presence felt with officials in Brussels.

In response to the need from its European members, over the past nine months WOCCU has been facilitating the development of a presence in Brussels that will raise the aware profile of credit unions in the EU and ensure that credit unions receive early warnings as to activities in Brussels that may affect the operations of credit unions.

"It is very clear that the targeted education campaign we jointly conducted with our European members was well received by officials in Brussels," indicated Dave Grace, WOCCU's Senior Manager of Association Services. Grace continued. "While significant progress was made over the past couple of days, educating officials and building relationship within the Commission will be an ongoing process."

An evening reception, hosted by Brian Crowley, an Irish Member of the European Parliament (MEP) within the main European Parliament building was well attended by MEP and staff from their offices and various parties within the European Parliament.

World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development agency for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.

World Council has implemented 300+ technical assistance programs in 89 countries. Worldwide, 68,882 credit unions in 109 countries serve 235 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at