November 18, 2014
Guest blog post by Gerry Salole, Chief executive, European Foundation Centre.
Our organisations, the European Foundation Centre (EFC) and the Donors and Foundations Networks in Europe (DAFNE) representing together over 7,000 foundations, would like to call your attention to the proposed EU regulation on the European Foundation (FE), and the critical role of all EU Members States in finalising the negotiations towards its adoption by the end of the year.
Why is our sector so supportive of a European Foundation Statute?
The aim of this new optional and complementary European Statute is to help a fast growing number of foundations and funders who need or wish to work across borders on initiatives that improve the wellbeing of citizens. We need better regulation in Europe for foundations’ cross-border work and operations, which cannot be addressed effectively by national action or national legislation alone.
The proposed European Foundation Statute (EFS), in its current format without tax provisions, will be a leap forward to allow funders and foundations to carry out their work under the same conditions throughout the EU, through setting up of European Foundations, thus reducing delays, administrative and legal hurdles and related costs, and saving funds which would be better invested in the very mission of the general interest work of the foundations.
Technically speaking, we want to ensure that any public benefit foundation and initiative in the EU can take a legal form, that of an FE, legally recognised without further undue requirements in all 28 Member States; which enables this organisation to open a bank account, manage its assets effectively in any EU country; which aids this organisation to expand its medical research activities and enter into contracts with private or public partners in other countries; which enables this organisation to have a unique effective and coherent governance structure while operating in various countries; which allows this organisation to move its seat in a clear and transparent way protecting creditors and beneficiaries when needed; and other such concrete rights and opportunities which de facto are denied today to foundations in the internal market. We need enhanced legal certainty and security for foundations to operate cost-effectively within the internal market in Europe, without undue delays, restrictions and expenses.
We do believe that the EFS will also enable European citizens, working and living abroad, to contribute to philanthropic projects at home in an efficient, transparent and secure way for the donor and the beneficiary.
We are now at a turning point in the negotiation process on the EFS given the progress made on this file in the first half of 2014. Building on this work, we believe that Member State representatives should now come to an agreement and settle remaining issues, such as minimal assets, mergers and supervision and exchange of information, in a proportionate and pragmatic way, safeguarding the actual objective of this regulation.
The EFS proposal is fully in line with current times aiming to design a cost-effective transnational tool which meets the needs of citizens and funders who are more and more mobile in their professional life and at retirement age, and address socio-economic concerns which do not stop at the borders in very varied fields such as research, the environment, migration, heritage conservation.
We believe that it is vitally important to introduce this much needed legal instrument which will help bring benefit to European citizens and society. It is critical that we do this now, at a time when resources are more limited than ever, so that foundations can invest across borders and across borders in areas of high need.Blogactiv Team