The Cooperative Union of Serbia (CUS), Serbia’s national association of farming co-operatives, was created in 1895 as the Central Union of Serbian Farming Co-operatives. When the International Co-operative Union (ICU) was established in London that same year, Serbian co-operatives were amongst its founding members, alongside peers from Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, India, Italy, Switzerland, the UK, and the US.
The CUS was active continuously from its inception to 1962, except during the two World Wars, when its operations were greatly reduced. The 1962 Law on Central Chambers of Commerce removed the Alliance’s independence, turning it into the Co-operatives Division of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce. The CUS regained autonomy in 1976, but it was not until 1998 that it was able to recover some of its assets from the Chamber of Commerce.
After a new Co-operatives Law was enacted in 1996, on 1 July 1997 all provincial and district co-operative alliances signed an agreement to re-establish the CUS, which allowed the Alliance to continue operating.
The CUS is today governed by an Assembly, a Board of Directors and a Supervisory Board. Its President chairs the Secretariat, which also includes a Secretary, committees, commissions, working parties, and a technical support service. The CUS’s duties and objectives are regulated by the Co-operatives Law and a set of byelaws, which include its Agreement of Establishment, regulations, rules of procedure, decisions, resolutions, and other enactments adopted in compliance with national legislation.
To achieve its objectives, the CUS works with national authorities, research and development organisations, and professional bodies directly or indirectly involved in agriculture and co-operation and in policymaking in these fields.