Representatives of the 28 EU Member States failed to reach a consensus on the European Foundation Statute at their meeting in Brussels on 19 November.
‘This is a missed opportunity. The European Foundation Statute is a simple, cost-effective solution to enable foundations to fund across communities in Europe and to bring about more public good to people and communities most in need,’ said Gerry Salole, chief executive of the European Foundation Centre, a key proponent of the European Foundation Statute.
‘This is a serious setback for foundations and communities and citizens on the ground,’ he went on. ‘The perversity of unanimity decision-making means that a minority can veto the choice and agreement of the majority … There’s an added irony that countries which have a strong track record of foundations working hard over time to improve the lives of citizens and cooperating closely with their national governments, have rejected the proposal. Therefore this “I’m alright Jack” attitude is particularly perverse.’
The UK, Netherlands, Slovakia, Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Portugal and Germany have either rejected the initiative or rejected the current text.
According to the EFC, there are over 100,000 foundations in Europe with a combined annual expenditure of some €100 billion. Today a significant amount of this money, instead of being used for the greater good, is tied up in complying with over 50 types of existing national legislation in Europe. This annual cost has been estimated to exceed €100 million.
‘By adopting the EFS, Member States and the EU and could have led the way globally in signalling the importance of promoting a foundation funding model,’ said Salole.
Work will continue to be pursued by the EFC and foundation partners to encourage and enable a dialogue that seeks to establish cost-effective solutions to underpin foundations’ work in Europe and internationally.