4 October 2022

Have your say: European Commission consultation on a European Statute for associations and NPOs

In August, the European Commission launched a public consultation on the establishment of a single market for associations, particularly focusing on cross-border operations. As Philea, we encourage our members to submit their contributions and advocate for the inclusion of the wider civil society sector and foundations within the scope of the proposal. The consultation is open for submissions until 28 October.

European Parliament proposal, Commission response, and Philea’s contribution – a timeline:

The European Parliament triggered the initiative in February by presenting a report calling on the European Commission to draft two legislative proposals:

  • A regulation for the new legal form of the ‘European Association’
  • A directive to set European minimum standards for civil society organisations, including associations and foundations

Philea, alongside the wider civil society and social economy, enthusiastically welcomed the European Parliament report and added some comments.

In May, the Commission responded to the report announcing that it will propose a legislative act addressing civil society organisations. In this context, the ongoing public consultation seeks to involve relevant stakeholders in informing the content of the proposal.

What are our initial reflections regarding the European Commission consultation?
As it is not yet clear what approach the European Commission will adopt, this is the right moment to provide input and suggestions. In June and September, Philea’s Legal Affairs Committee (LAC) and several academic experts engaged with other civil society and social economy networks to discuss the strategy our sector should adopt. Some initial reflections are:

  • The European Commission might focus solely on associations, excluding a wide proportion of civil society actors and public-benefit foundations. As we face similar obstacles when operating across-borders, the legislative proposal should address the entire non-profit sector, including associations and foundations.
  • A European legal form does not seem to be in sight, even though we have been advocating for a supranational legal framework for associations and foundations.
  • The proposal should aim at creating a single market for the public good in Europe.
  • The proposal should also strengthen civil dialogue and grant a better recognition of public-benefit and non-profit organisations.
  • At this preliminary stage, the priority for foundations is to clearly state their concerns to the EU Commission. Philea’s legal experts agreed that the proposal should be ambitious, both with regard to the consequences for the sector and the issues it seeks to address.

What are the expected next steps?

  • From December to March 2023: Preparation of a draft legislative proposal in the responsible Commission DG GROW
  • Potentially from March to April 2023: Presentation of the legislative proposal
  • From May to July 2023: Assignment of the legislative proposal to the relevant Committees in the EU Parliament (and in the Council)
  • From August to October 2023: Negotiations in the EU Parliament

Our Legal Affairs Committee is working on a contribution for submission. In case you want to be involved, don’t hesitate to reach out via policy@philea.eu.


Hanna Surmatz
Head of Policy