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What is the European Foundation Statute (EFS)?
The European Foundation Statute is an optional and simple tool that will help foundations to better channel their resources into improving the lives of European citizens in a wide range of areas.
Where the EFS proposal stands?
The European Commission presented a proposal on a European Foundation Statute
on 8 February 2012. This proposal has been shared with the Council of Ministers representing the governments of the 28 Member States for review and approval and the European Parliament for its consent:
In April 2012, the Council of Ministers started a review of the EFS. This preparatory work was entrusted to a technical working group in charge of company law. The group held four meetings in 2012 under the Danish and Cypriot EU Presidencies and concluded the first reading of the proposal.
Discussions were resumed in 2013 under the lead of the Irish EU Presidency on 25 June 2013 and the Lithuanian EU Presidency on 9 September and 6 December to review an amended proposal without tax provisions.
The Greek EU Presidency presented the state of play to EU Ministers at the 20 February 2014 Competitiveness Council. The Presidency convened 4 working group meetings on 28 February, 17 March, 15 May, and 10 June to refine the scope of the proposal, and review issues such as formation and supervision. The committee of permanent representatives was asked for guidance on the minimum level of assets required to set up a European Foundation at its 18 June meeting.
The Italian EU Presidency presented a new compromise text to EU country representatives (COREPER I) on 19 November 2014 in Brussels. Although a majority of Member States supported the EFS initiative, a minority of countries rejected the revised EFS text. It is now the responsibility of the EU Presidency Trio ( Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg) together with the new European Commission to agree how to move the initiative forward.
On 30 May 2013 the Legal affairs committee of the European Parliament voted in favour of the report on the European Foundation Statute drafted by Evelyn Regner, rapporteur on the EFS proposal. The Culture and Education committee had already adopted its opinion under the lead of the rapporteur Nadja Hirsch on 23 April 2013. The EP initiated its work on the Statute with a hearing in November 2012. The event illustrated a great convergence of views among representatives from the sector, experts and members of the European Parliament. Read more here.
The European Parliament already pledged support to European statutes for foundations, associations and mutual societies with the signatures by a majority of its Members of a Written Declaration in February 2011.
On 18 September 2012, the European Economic and Social Committee, the EU’s official advisory body on social and economic matters, gave a clear and strong backing to the Statute by approving with a large majority of the votes the opinion drafted by EESC member Mall Hellam. The opinion welcomes the European Commission proposal for a Regulation on a European Foundation Statute to support public-benefit activities and urges for its adoption by the Council and the European Parliament in due course.
- Endorsement by the Committee of the Regions
On 29 November 2012, the Committee of the Regions, the EU's advisory body representing regions and cities, adopted a favorable opinion on the Statute for a European Foundation at the initiative of rapporteur Claudette Brunet-Lechenault. The opinion underlines that the Statute has to reflect a need for simplification for foundations to work more effectively on cross-border projects in partnership with local stakeholders, outlining its potential for boosting European citizens' initiatives.
Why is a European Foundation Statute needed?
Foundations and their funders are increasingly working across borders. However, a number of legal and administrative barriers are hampering foundations’ current work. The lack of appropriate legal tools means that new European initiatives by foundations are delayed or abandoned.
A European Foundation Statute will offer them an appropriate legal tool to perform and increase their work and operations across Europe.
How can you contribute to the process?
There are different ways in which you can contribute to the EFC's efforts to increase awareness and support for the creation of a European statute for foundations at European and national level.
What you can do:
• Share with us your experience and views on cross-border work and the EFS!
• Contact your national and European representatives!