AIM meets Commissioner Thyssen's cabinet

On the 11 May, AIM president, Mr Christian Zahn, met with representatives of the Cabinet of Ms Thyssen, the Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility. Commissioner Thyssen was due to an urgent last minute unforeseen meeting not able to attend. After a general presentation about AIM and the mutual movement in Europe and the world, the team of President Zahn presented why especially today the mutual model, with its important values of non-profit, solidarity and democracy, is one of the important answers to the economic crisis in Europe. The Commission staff was interested in the position of mutuals within the European Union and was very open to suggestions to strengthen their position. The AIM representatives mentioned the difficulties the mutual movement is currently facing.  Mutuals are confronted with a trend of de-mutualisation, due to a lack of recognition of the mutual model.

Mutuals are considered to be part of the internal market, but at the same time there is no legal instrument that allows mutuals to work cross-border within the EU, Mr Zahn mentioned. Also Solvency II requirements don’t recognize the specificities of the mutual; their inability to attract capital. Where Mutuals are actually bringing resilience to a European Economy based on solidarity, compared to the alternative of for-profit insurance, mutuals don’t have yet the ability to fulfil their full potential.

The AIM team also brought TTIP to the attention, and the possible negative impact it has on the position of mutuals within the European Union. AIM urged therefore the College of Commissioners to adopt a statute for mutuals, but also to bring more attention and recognition to the mutual model in its efforts to strengthen the social economy. The members of the Cabinet of Commissioner Thyssen welcomed the idea to give specific attention to mutuals during the conference on social economy which will be held during the Luxembourgish Presidency, in December of this year. The Commission will approach Luxembourg Minister Schmit about this, and advised AIM to do the same.

The Cabinet repeated the message that was earlier shared with AIM through letters from Commission first Vice-President Timmermans and Commisisoner Bienkowska, that when setting its priorities the Commission focussed on measures which were likely to be able to find agreement in the European Parliament and in the Council of the EU. The Commission is therefore not planning to bring a mutual statute to the College. At the same time the Commission welcomed a continuous dialogue with AIM, also in relation to the role mutuals can play in strengthening the European healthcare sector and its sustainability and to help remove possible obstacles to practically do so.

The meeting was from the side of AIM also attended by Pedro Bleck da Silva (chair of AIM’s Mutuals Working Group, representing Montepio in Portugal), Patrick Carnotensis (AIM member, representing the Belgian Christian Mutuality) and Menno Aarnout (director of AIM). For more information on this meeting or on healthcare mutuals go to AIM website

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