Dear co-operators, Dear colleagues,
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As the Christmas and New Year’s festivities are approaching, it is the occasion to reflect upon a particularly turbulent year, laden with challenges of unprecedented scale in recent times, but also with remarkable efforts exerted by consumer co-operatives in serving our consumers, members and local communities. Our thoughts and sympathy are with those who have lost loved ones or friends or who are in a critical situation.
As Europe braced to mitigate the once-in-a-generation crisis, co-operatives performed at their very best in supporting the ones in need and maintaining their mission to serve the people. Keeping our stores open and employing incredible flexibility in our operations, we succeeded in offering our 30 million consumers and their 7,000 local communities an uninterrupted shopping experience in an otherwise heavily restricted daily routine. Our staff are modern-day heroes who have done an incredible job over the past months. Not only by ensuring the supply of goods, but also in direct customer contact. We owe them a great deal.
Our 176-year history has proven the co-op movement rises when times are toughest, owing to our unwavering commitment and inherent responsibility to the individual. However, our troubles are not yet behind us. We shall draw our fortitude from the knowledge that we stand and grow stronger in co-operation. We will continue uniting our efforts in the firm belief that the road to stability and prosperity is paved one pace at a time, together. We have a lot of work ahead of us, undoubtedly, but we shall persevere.
As Christmas and New Year’s Eve are upon us, we extend our warmest season greetings to you all! May the magic of the holiday season bring you, your families and colleagues the best of health, prosperity, peace and tranquility. Let us take a breath, enjoy the shared moments with our loved ones and summon our composure for what lies ahead.
With co-operative greetings,
Mathias Fiedler, President
Todor Ivanov, Secretary-General