Last month, the European Commission adopted a proposed Regulation on a European Foundation Statute, bringing legislation on the matter a step closer. The Statute, a long-cherished project of the European Foundation Centre (EFC) and its allies, has already won the backing of the sector – through members of the EFC and DAFNE (Donors and Foundations Networks in Europe) – and secured the support of the European Economic and Social Committee in 2010 and of the European Parliament in a recent written declaration.
The last step is for the legislative proposal to receive the consent of the European Parliament and the approval of the Council of Ministers. Proponents are demanding national governments and the EU adopt the Statute before 2014.
The Statute would be both additional to existing national legislation and optional – that is, used by those who want to expand or start cross-border activities and collaborative ventures. It will allow anyone to set up a European foundation with the same conditions throughout the EU, thereby removing costly and cumbersome legal and administrative barriers that have until now delayed or hampered foundation-led European initiatives.
The Statute’s supporters hailed the EC’s adoption of the Regulation as a ‘milestone’. However, as DAFNE Chair Rosa Gallego points out, ‘the job is not yet done. … It is vital that ministers realise the value that a European Foundation Statute will bring to the individual member states they represent. It is not about initiating long and complex reform; it’s about creating a simple but robust and trusted new tool to allow public-benefit foundations to maximise their potential.’
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