Members of the European Parliament voted by large majority in support of a resolution for a European Foundation Statute which will make it easier for foundations to support citizens'initiatives across Europe
An important milestone for European Foundations was achieved on Tuesday, this week, when Members of the European Parliament voted by a large majority in support of a resolution for a European Foundation Statute.
The Statute will make it easier for foundations to support citizens’ initiatives across Europe.
“The positive vote on the Statute sends a crystal clear signal to the Council that Europe’s citizens want and need this piece of legislation,” said Gerry Salole, European Foundation Centre Chief Executive. “This is a critical step in the final stretch of what has been a long process to give European citizens the tools they need to fulfil their philanthropic impulses and to fully benefit from the philanthropy of others. The fate of the Statute is now in the hands of the Council.”
In a statement following the vote, Evelyn Regner, Vice-Chair of the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament (JURI) and Rapporteur on the Statute, welcomed the strong show of support by the European Parliament and called on the Council to quickly move the file forward: “It would be very welcome if an agreement could be reached during the current legislature,” she stressed.
According to the European Foundation Centre, foundations are increasingly seeking to engage in transnational European initiatives, but their efforts are hampered by a European legal and operating environment that does not afford them the advantages of the Single Market. Many European initiatives are delayed or abandoned due to a number of barriers, including high legal and administration costs, difficulties with the recognition of foreign legal personalities, and legal uncertainties over the recognition of the “public interest” nature of resident foundations’ cross-border work and public-benefit status.
A European Foundation Statute is considered the best policy option to overcome these hurdles.
The foundation sector has made repeated calls over the past ten years for the introduction of this optional legal form to allow foundations and funders to work across borders on citizens’ initiatives. The latest call for support was an open letter to the current and forthcoming EU Presidencies. In 2011, a significant number of MEPs signed a written declaration (84/2010) asking the European Commission to establish a European statute for foundations, as well as statutes for mutuals and associations.
The estimated 110,000 public-benefit foundations in Europe support both individuals and civil society organisations, and run their own programmes, research institutes, hospitals and museums. Working with partners from the public and private sectors, foundations play a key role in promoting scientific excellence and knowledge, education and training, innovation, sustainable development, well-being, social justice, culture and creativity.