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European Parliament discusses need for a Single Market for Philanthropy

Brussels, 25 October 2021.
The European Parliament launched at its plenary of 21 October 2021 a debate on the need for “A Single Market for Philanthropy”. EC Commissioner Mairead McGuiness, on behalf of Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, welcomed the initiative calling for public-private partnerships for the common good. Her introduction was followed by contributions by several MEPs, including Vice-President Nicola Beer and MEP Ilhan Kyuchyuk, who initiated the debate. The aim of the resolution is to unlock the potential of philanthropy in the recovery and future of Europe, mobilising complementary private resources for the public good and facilitating cross-border giving and philanthropic action.

In her opening remarks, EC Commissioner Mairead McGuinness stressed the importance of the philanthropic sector in Europe that includes more than 147,000 public-benefit foundations with an accumulated annual expenditure of nearly 60 billion euros. She said: “Philanthropy can help us catalyse a more holistic response to the vast challenges that lie ahead, from climate change to vaccination and social innovation.”

MEP Seán Kelly underlined how philanthropy plays a key role in upholding community cohesion and sharing European values, tackling rising inequalities and helping to meet citizens’ needs and deliver change. For MEP Milan Brglez, philanthropic organisations are practicing European solidarity and have the necessary agility to work cross border that is essential to address the big challenges of our times, including the green and digital transition.

EP Vice-President Nicola Beer and MEP Ilhan Kyuchyuk highlighted the quick response of philanthropic organisations to the pandemic, particularly helping to bridge the gap in public provision by supporting the most affected communities.” “However, the potential of philanthropy cannot take full effect yet, even within the European Union. Complex rules continue to hinder cross-border philanthropy in the form of multiple legal, administrative and fiscal barriers. Beer and Kyuchyuk call therefore for a bold action and the establishment  of “a Single Market for Philanthropy“ with free flow of capital and application of the non-discrimination principle.

MEP Sergey Lagodinsky called for the creation of a supranational legal form and special regulatory regimes for European associations, non-profits and foundations to enhance cooperation in Europe. He said: “We should emphasise and strengthen the non-discrimination principle based on the free flow capital principle in our European Union, as the European Court of Justice has proposed. We need to lower or mitigate financial burden for cross-border finances. Only by doing so will we be able to strengthen cooperation across border in the European Union”. He added, “it is of outmost importance to have a regime which would help civil society, not just economy, to be really European”.

Hanna Surmatz, Enabling Environment Manager and co-lead of the joint Dafne and EFC Philanthropy Advocacy initiative stated: “We welcome this timely debate and the related initiatives in the European Parliament and the European Commission. The challenges for our society, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, do not stop at national borders, but legal frameworks for philanthropic giving do. Therefore, we fully support this call for introducing a single market for philanthropy and public good across the EU.”

Please find more information on the single market for philanthropy that is strongly supported by the sector in this European Philanthropy Manifesto as well as the legal analysis across 40 countries in Europe in this recent “Comparative Highlights of Foundation Laws”, published on 1 October 2021.


About Philanthropy Advocacy:

The Dafne and EFC joint advocacy project Philanthropy Advocacy acts as a monitoring, legal analysis and policy engagement hub for European philanthropy. Its main objective is to shape the national, European and international legislative environment by implementing the European advocacy roadmap for a Single Market for Philanthropy. More information here: www.philanthropyadvocacy.eu


About Dafne:

We bring together 30 national associations in 28 countries across Europe, representing over 10.000 public-benefit foundations, big and small, who want to make a difference to society. We have created an alliance for collaboration across philanthropy networks in Europe to address big philanthropy questions of our time in a coordinated and effective manner. We lead, strengthen and build the field for the common good in Europe. We are involved in four key areas: advocacy, peer exchange, communications and research that are needs-based and future-oriented. We value ideas over hierarchy and believe in a truly collaborative approach. www.dafne-online.eu

About the EFC:

As a leading platform for philanthropy in Europe, the EFC works to strengthen the sector and make the case for institutional philanthropy as a formidable means of effecting change. We believe institutional philanthropy has a unique, crucial and timely role to play in meeting the critical challenges societies face. Working closely with our members, a dynamic network of strategically-minded philanthropic organisations from more than 30 countries, we:

  • Foster peer-learning by surfacing the expertise and experience within the sector
  • Enhance collaboration by connecting people for exchange and joint action
  • Advocate for favourable policy and regulatory environments for philanthropy
  • Build a solid evidence base through knowledge and intelligence
  • Raise the visibility of philanthropy’s value and impact
  • The EFC and Dafne jointly lead the Philanthropy Advocacy project.

Please find more information on www.efc.be.


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