Spain—together with Greece—is currently the European country with the highest unemployment rate. However, while salaried employment in the private sector as a whole fell by 19% between 2008 and 2012, the employment in cooperatives fell only by 9%, less than half.
How is this possible? Answers can be searched in the Basque region of Spain, which has the base of one of the largest production cooperatives in the Western world, the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation (MCC), a group of Guipúzcoa based cooperative enterprises.
And there is a reason, why Basque Country makes an excellent case since there are some interesting parallels between the Czech Republic and this region in the north of Spain. It experienced some forty 40 years ago a transition from an authoritarian regime to democracy in some ways comparable to that experienced by Czech society 25 years ago. Second, the Basque Country is today a comparatively wealthy European region, with an important concentration of metallurgic industry and mechanical SMEs.