Representing some 6,000 foundations, the Foundation Council of Europe was officially launched on 6 June. The Council for the first time brings together in one collective voice the members of the European Foundation Centre (EFC) and those of the Donors and Foundations Networks of Europe (DAFNE). This new framework gives European foundations a stronger advocacy basis at the level of the European institutions. The launch took place at the EFC’s 23rd Annual General Assembly and Conference in Belfast.
The Foundation Council, representing foundations from across Europe that work at national, European and/or international level, is being formed at a time of doubt and crisis in the EU. As such, the Foundation Council of Europe reinforces the spirit of the European Project and the role European foundations can play in it.
The primary objective of this body is to advocate for a better legal and fiscal environment for foundations in Europe The first job of the Foundation Council will be to convince the European Parliament and national governments to approve the European Commission’s recently released legislative proposal for a European Foundation Statute (EFS) by no later than 2014.
Once passed, the Statute will allow foundations that have a public-benefit purpose and that wish to work cross-border to become a “European Foundation”. This form of foundation would be additional and complementary to existing national forms; would be legally recognised in all Member States; and would operate under the same set of conditions across the EU.
This new legal tool will greatly increase the effectiveness and efficiency of an important sector in society. It is estimated that there are some 110,000 foundations in Europe, collectively spending between €83 and €150 billion annually on projects and programmes, and providing employment to up to one million Europeans. In today’s socio-economic context, it is critical that foundations have the right tools to allow them to leverage their valuable resources to benefit the citizens of Europe.
At the launch event, the Foundation Council called on delegates to become EFS Ambassadors and commit themselves to doing all they can to ensure that this proposal becomes law.
Speakers at the launch event included Francis Charhon, Fondation de France; Rosa Gallego, Asociación Española de Fundaciones and DAFNE; Erik Rudeng, Fritt Ord Foundation; and Emílio Rui Vilar, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian.
Read the full Statement