21 October 2020

Nicola Beer MEP Interview with StifterTV on the need for a Single Market for Public Good

There is a ‘window of opportunity now’ to unleash private resources for public good across Europe, according to Vice-President of the European Parliament, Nicola Beer.

Following her participation in Dafne and EFC’s webinar with policymakers on 1st October on encouraging cross-border philanthropy, Ms. Beer (DE, Renew Europe) discussed the importance of reducing existing barriers with Jörg Birkelbach of German channel StifterTV.

“We have a single market for goods, for services, for capital, the free movement of people is also guaranteed,” said Ms. Beer.

“But nobody really thinks about the fact that there are numerous obstacles for non-profit organisations and foundations, even though they have an incredible amount of potential.”

This potential can be quantified: there are approximately 147,000 active donors and foundations and associations across Europe, representing a combined annual spend of €60 billion.

“These are no trifles, there is real power behind them, there is real strength behind them,” observed Ms. Beer. But to fully harness that power, EU law around cross-border giving will have to be changed.

“If I want to donate from Germany to Belgium, it is highly complicated. Similarly, it is difficult for a public-benefit organisation in one member state to support one in another member state.”

“With the legislative change, that would be possible and much easier.”

Ms. Beer also highlighted that there is an appetite within a cohort of MEPs to build pressure within Parliament for action to enable cross-border giving, particularly in light of philanthropy and civil society’s contribution to Covid-19 recovery efforts across the continent.

“The pandemic has shown how indispensable civil society commitment is, how indispensable civil society organisations, associations, foundations and non-profits are in shaping Europe,” remarked Ms. Beer.

There are, however, legislative hurdles to address, not least around the distinction between non-profits and other entities. “I believe that the central issue that urgently needs to be discussed is the mutual recognition of the non-profit status,” Ms. Beer continued. “This means that we have to find a European definition of the non-profit.”

In addition to the clip above with English subtitles, the full version of the interview (in German) can be found by clicking here.