New mission letter for Vice-President Jourová recognizes her role in dialogue with civil society and philanthropy
At the beginning of December 2019 the new mission letter for Vice–President Jourová was published on the European Commission’s website. President Von der Leyen has modified the mission of Vice-President Jourová by adding clear responsibilities for civil dialogue and civic space and the Vice-President has been given a clear mandate to engage with civil society, including philanthropy.
The main changes to the tasks assigned previously in September to Ms Jourová related to civil society space are the following:
1. On better policy making, and on action in case of breach with EU law: “Given that any legislation is only as good as its implementation, I want you to focus on the application and enforcement of EU law within your field. You should provide support and continuous guidance to Member States on implementation, and be ready to take swift action if EU law is breached.” This task will prove important to civil society and particularly for the philanthropic sector, given that we have seen several cases where national law was considered in breach of EU law, related to foreign funding restrictions or discriminatory national tax laws.
2. On strengthening democracy and transparency: “You will also maintain an open, transparent and regular dialogue with representative associations and civil society.” Vice-President Jourová has been entrusted with maintaining a constant dialogue with the civil society organisations and sector representatives.
3. On upholding Europe’s values and rights: “I want you to pay special attention to the protection of the right of peaceful assembly and the freedom of association.” This clearly provides Ms Jourová with the powers to act to protect the freedom of association, including protecting the creation of foundations, guaranteed by Article 12 of the Charter.
Philanthropy Advocacy (DAFNE and EFC) joined a delegation organised by Civil Society Europe, and met with members of Vice-President Jourová´s cabinet later on in December. The delegation discussed possibilities for better facilitation and increased dialogue between the European Commission and civil society, while the CSOs offered their regular contribution to the working group of Commissioners responsible for the action plan on democracy. This group is also responsible for the rule of law report and the new strategy for the implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Image courtesy of the European Parliament.