Despite substantial support for the European Foundation Statute (EFS), and no fundamental opposition, the new Juncker Commission announced its decision yesterday (16 December) that the EFS will not be part of its so-called ‘better’ regulation agenda for 2015. Instead the EFS is one of the 80 proposals that the European Commission has decided to withdraw from the EU legislative agenda.
‘This decision sends a signal that goes completely against the concept of building a citizen-led Europe,’ said Gerry Salole, European Foundation Centre (EFC) chief executive. ‘If EU institutions together cannot uphold a Regulation which aims to facilitate public interest work by and for the citizens, they will have to find other avenues, with the sector, to address the issue. Foundations will continue to hold the European Commission to account in finding solutions to serving the public interest across borders.’
This follows the failure of representatives of the 28 EU member states to reach a consensus on the EFS at their meeting in Brussels on 19 November. At that meeting eight member states are said to have rejected the EFC proposal tabled by the Italian EU Presidency: Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia and the UK.
According to the European Commission, the decision to withdraw the EFS text is based on the lack of progress in getting unanimity among the 28 EU member states. Since unanimity is necessary, the Commission feels that there are no prospects for reaching an agreement.