30 August 2023

The new Spanish presidency from the perspective of philanthropy

At the beginning of the year, we focused on the priorities of the Swedish presidency. Highlights from the period of the Swedish Presidency, from the perspective of the philanthropic sector, have been:

  1. The Council Recommendations on Fundamental Rights and Civic Space of 10 March 2023, which we welcomed for the clear recognition of the role of the civic space in protecting and promoting fundamental rights in the European Union.
  2. The Social Economy Days, which took place in Gothenburg from 7-9 June and paved the way for the Commission Proposal for a Council Recommendation on developing the social economy framework conditions and the guidance for Member States on taxation frameworks for social economy organisations and cross-border philanthropy, which we celebrated as a milestone towards the achievement of the Single Market for Philanthropy.

On 1 July 2023, Sweden handed over the presidency of the Council of the European Union to Spain, which will hold this role for six months.

We welcome the four priorities established by the Spanish Presidency,  which we believe reflect some of our objectives as a sector:

  1. Reindustrialise the EU and ensure its open strategic autonomy, through innovation, greater integration of the single market and the diversification of its trade relations aimed at strengthening European supply chains. 

In light of philanthropy`s contribution to the economic and social well-being of Europe (with combined assets of public-benefit foundations in Europe amounting to over €511 billion), we believe that further integration of the single market must also take into account the philanthropy sector. We count on the new Presidency to:
>Collaborate with the Commission to implement all the actions within the new Social Economy Action Plan
>Achieve the adoption of the proposal for a Council recommendation on developing social economy framework conditions
>Continue working on a co-investment facility for philanthropy under InvestEU, in line with our European Philanthropy Manifesto.

  • Advance in the green transition and the environmental adaptation, supporting the achievement of climate neutrality and targets set by the European institutions, saving money and creating new job opportunities.

Climate is one of the cross-cutting themes of our policy and advocacy work. By regularly engaging with EU institutions and Member States around coordinating joint ventures between public and philanthropic capital to develop green social-economy projects, we are committed to building a thriving philanthropic sector which benefits people and the planet. The philanthropy sector is indeed more and more engaging with public actors, including the EU. We are looking forward to further deepening these conversations at our EuroPhilantopics, our annual flagship policy event to be held this year on 29 November in Brussels. The European Philanthropy Coalition for Climate further encourages and empowers philanthropy to drive bold climate action and transformational change in Europe and beyond.

  • Promote greater social and economic justice, through the establishment of minimum standards for business taxation in all Member States; efforts to combat tax evasion and avoidance by large multinationals; and the extension of workers’ rights in several areas and for vulnerable groups such as children, women suffering from violence, and people with disabilities.

Equality is also one of the cross-cutting themes of our work. Our members have pointed to striving for equality as an urgent issue that must be addressed by philanthropy now and in the coming years. We greatly welcome the call for a fairer and more caring economy, and are committed to continue working towards this together with wider civil society and the EU institutions. Philea is also monitoring the developments at EU and global levels around ensuring that our sector’s perspective is taken into account.

  • Strengthen European unity, by deepening the internal market; the completion of the banking union and the capital markets union; the consolidation and improvement of common instruments such as the NextGenerationEU funds; a more efficient and coordinated management of migration and asylum processes; and a coordinated support for Ukraine and other neighbouring states.

We are working with the EU institutions towards a collaborative platform and new tools for co-investment approaches for philanthropic organisations, also in the field of migration. Philea continues to engage in ongoing exchanges on Ukraine bringing together its members and occasionally EU policymakers to identify synergies.

Philea is committed to engage around this agenda and looks forward to the San Sebastian Social Economy Congress in November 2023 in the framework of the Presidency. Philea will participate and co-shape a session on the operating space for the social economy at this occasion.


Hanna Surmatz
Head of Policy