Departing Co-operative Group chief executive Sir Graham Melmoth will use his speech as president of the Co-op Congress on Sunday to launch a rallying call for UK membership of the euro. Speaking at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast, Sir Graham will say the UK risks becoming sidelined in Europe by the government's "timidity". "Where we were once leaders of opinion on continental Europe, you would be hard pushed to find much mention of us [now] in Le Monde, the Corriere della Sera or Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung." "Our children are, it seems, discouraged from learning languages and we are diminished as a result. No doubt these developing mindsets explain government timidity in launching the euro debate. I am sure I have left you in no doubt where my sympathies lie." However there were encouraging signs of growing recognition in government that social enterprises including co-ops have a contribution to make that has largely been ignored so far: "Government is thinking again about delivery models and, with some discredited Plcs crumbling before our eyes, the attractions of co-operatives and mutuals intensify." {{NEWS }}

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