Economic and Social Committee resolution calls on national governments to consult with Civil society and philanthropy
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) plenary yesterday adopted its Resolution “Involvement of Organised Civil Society in the National Recovery and Resilience Plans – What works and what does not?” in the presence of Commissioner for Budget and Administration, Johannes Hahn.
The EESC Resolution seeks to improve the consultation processes during the drafting of the plans, as well as to push for involvement of CSOs in the implementation, monitoring and adjustment of the NRRPs. It takes stock of its consistency with the study carried out by Civil Society Europe and the European Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ECNL), to which Philanthropy Advocacy and its Legal Affairs Committee also contributed, and draws on a series of consultations in the 27 Member States of the European Union.
Consultation of civil society during implementation, monitoring and adjustment of the NRRPs
Indeed, in the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) regulation, Member States are encouraged to consult with stakeholders when drafting and implementing the National Recovery and Resilience Plans (NRRPs) (article 18(4)(q) 2020/0104(COD)). However, the consultations carried out by the EESC demonstrated once again the lack of involvement of organised civil society. Notably, the EESC raises concern on the lack of clarity on “the appropriate mechanisms for involving organised civil society and social partners in the implementation, monitoring and adjustment phases of the NRRPs.” (paragraph 5.7 of the Resolution).
Whereas some Member States are still expected to submit their draft NRRPs, due by 30 April 2021, the resolution also looks ahead. Indeed, Commissioner Hahn likewise noted that the time has come to set the path for implementation of the NRRP. In that regard, the EESC Resolution “stresses that the involvement of representative CSOs in monitoring the implementation of the NRRPs is a powerful tool in the fight against corruption and inefficiency.” (paragraph 5.6 of the Resolution).
Public benefit organisations’ expertise, public-private partnerships, and work on the ground
Philanthropy Advocacy welcomes the Resolution as it is in line with our recommendations to governments when it comes to consultation of civil society and public benefit organisations, both during the drafting and implementation of the NRRPs. Public benefit organisations and foundations even have an additional role to play as implementing partners.
Please find herewith the entry-points we identified for the philanthropic sector:
- Firstly, as part of civil society, the philanthropic sector and public benefit organisations should be consulted by the Member States when these are in the process of drafting their national recovery and resilience plans. Up until 30 April 2021, Member States are expected to consult with relevant stakeholders such as civil society organisations and public benefit organisations to ensure the relevance and coherence of their national recovery and resilience plans. Foundations and civil society actors have a lot of expertise on many of the societal issues and can provide input into priority setting of the national plans.
- Secondly, philanthropic and public benefit organisations have a unique role to play as potential partners for the implementation of the national recovery and resilience plans using their expertise, networks, co-funding or implementing capacities. The Recovery and Resilience Facility regulation leaves it open if and how governments want to partner with other actors and even work with implementing partners in carrying out the national recovery and resilience plans. Philanthropic organisations can reach out to their governments to review potential meaningful public-private partnerships to implement envisaged reforms and investments as set out by the national recovery and resilience plans also via co-funding/co-investment schemes/other co-operation schemes. Public benefit organisations and foundations can contribute to achieving the necessary reforms as set out in the national recovery and resilience plans. They often already contribute to the six pillars of the Recovery and Resilience Facility on a daily basis and should therefore be considered as partners towards their achievement by implementing the investments through their activities.
- Thirdly, Foundations, non-profit organisations and social economy actors in need must be considered to also benefit from the national recovery and resilience plans if they can advance the reforms as set out in the national plans via their work on the ground. They often already contribute to the six pillars of the Recovery and Resilience Facility on a daily basis.