4 October 2019

European Parliament debates ways to unlock philanthropy’s potential for public good

On 1 October the European Parliament played host to a debate organised by the joint DAFNE/EFC Philanthropy Advocacy initiative and the Renew Europe Group of the European Parliament which broached the subject of how to unlock philanthropy’s potential for public good across Europe.

Hosted by Vice-President Nicola Beer, the event served as a kick-off to the topic in the new season. MEPs from different parties and other policy makers such as European Commission and EESC aligned around the need to:

  • collaborate with philanthropy, engaging the sector’s knowledge, values, networks and resources – including notably under the future InvestEU and associated programmes; and to
  • work towards a new mutual recognition framework for the EU to improve cross-border philanthropic activities, encourage giving/generosity, promote civic engagement and protect the European civil society space and European core values such as democracy, rules of law and fundamental rights.

The debate sought to ”start a new conversation about what philanthropy can contribute to the European Union’s public benefit,” said Nicola Beer. “There is so much untapped potential when it comes to foundations and civil society organisations – let us unlock it all together.”  The time seems politically mature for re-launching ideas on a single market for philanthropy and potentially a new proposal for a 29th regime of a “European public benefit statute” with the aim to create a truly European space for donors, which is currently affected by several regulatory and tax barriers that affect cross-border philanthropy within the EU; and a European space for citizen action nurturing and protecting a vibrant public space, and democratic/solidarity practice.

The session also featured case studies and small presentations illustrating the diversity and important complementary role of philanthropy, and how it acts as a tool for citizens to contribute to the public good in Europe.

For further information visit the Philanthropy Advocacy website or contact Hanna Surmatz.