The European Foundation statute

In 2012, there were around 110.000 public-benefit foundations in Europe supporting key action fields, such as research, education, social services, culture or environment protection.

While national public authorities have to face growing social needs; European foundations share the common will to develop their activities beyond borders. The expansion of foundations in Europe appears to be booming; however, they face major difficulties in establishing abroad. Indeed, they have to raise important funds in order to go through administrative or legal procedures. The development of public interest foundations is consequently limited in its scope – for now.

Toward a European Statute for foundations?

In this context, the European Foundation statute (FE) would allow these structures to expand more easily, thanks to an improved jurisdictional frame and increased transnational funds. Moreover it would provide them with more visibility for a greater recognition of their contribution to society. “While neither replacing nor seeking to harmonise existing foundation laws, the FE will reduce costs and legal uncertainties for foundations“ (Joint Statement: European Foundation Statute – An urgent need for a citizen’s Europe)

What about the implementation of the European Foundation statute?

Discussions within the European institutions started last year, following the European Commission’s proposal in February 2012. In this proposal, the EF would be an optional statute; public-benefit foundations should have €25.000 at their creation, provide the evidence that their activities are general-interest oriented, and attest their transnational dimension.

But the Commission’s proposal didn’t lead to any operational measure yet: “Twelve months have passed since the Regulation was put forward, yet little has happened on the legislative front“ (Joint Statement: European Foundation Statute – An urgent need for a citizen’s Europe)

However, the European Parliament’s vote should be effective within the next months; but, the Council of Ministers appears to be more sceptical: “(…) it would seem that for the group there was still a question mark regarding the interest of the sector in the proposal.” (Joint Statement: European Foundation Statute – An urgent need for a citizen’s Europe)

The foundations’ sector, represented by the DAFNE (Donors and Foundations Networks in Europe) and the EFC (European Foundation Centre), seems to show complete support to the project FE : “(…) we have been dipping into a pool of some 50 cases about foundations and interested organisations that have enquired about setting up a European Foundation. We believe that these cases are just the tip of the iceberg. (…) and we the sector will continue to campaign in order to highlight the value-added features of the Statute”. (Joint Statement: European Foundation Statute – An urgent need for a citizen’s Europe) This is why EFC and DAFNE made the Joint Statement “European Foundation Statute – An urgent need for a citizens’ Europe” few weeks ago, one year after the proposed legislation to remind the European institutions of the urgent need for this statute.

Joint Statement: European Foundation Statute – An Urgent need for a citizen’s Europe: