Vice-President Schinas recognises role of philanthropy in fighting for European values in the context of Ukraine and beyond
European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas has highlighted philanthropy’s role in promoting the same values of integration, fairness, and inclusion that have driven the EU’s assistance of Ukraine so far. His comments were made at a 14 June online event with philanthropy sector leaders, entitled “Philanthropy for Ukraine” and hosted by Philea.
During the panel discussion, moderated by Delphine Moralis, CEO, Philea, Vice-President Schinas explored with sector leaders how philanthropic organisations can effectively deploy their resources and cooperate with European institutions in tackling the Ukrainian crisis and preserving democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights.
He highlighted how the EU has shown unprecedented solidarity to the Ukrainian people, demonstrating once again what truly European values stand for. The establishment by the EU of the Ukrainian Humanitarian Fund (UHF) has brought to light just how high the stakes are regarding the issues we are facing due to this war. Initiatives such as this embody “the collective European effort to drive social change: We are not simply helping a neighbouring country, we are defending and promoting the European values and principles we stand for,” he said.
Vice-President Schinas also stressed how the EU’s Social Economy Action Plan (SEAP) was designed as a tool to help the philanthropic sector to let these principles thrive and flourish, especially by providing a suitable common framework concerning state aid, public procurement, and taxation.
He also set out the future priorities for the creation of an enabling environment for philanthropy within the EU. “It’s paradoxical that philanthropic foundations are experiencing difficulties in cross-border operations within the European Single Market,” he said. “We now have, through the SEAP, a tool to establish targeted solutions towards tackling all the issues philanthropy is facing, one by one.” He expressed the willingness of the European Commission to clarify the rules for cross-border philanthropy and propose Council Recommendations on the development of solid social economy frameworks. He also mentioned the expected launch of a dedicated co-investment facility for philanthropy, and a mapping study on the philanthropic capital in Europe.
Finally, Vice-President Schinas remarked on the necessity for the Commission to work together with the European Parliament on the creation of a truly European level playing field for non-profit organisations. Even if still at an early stage, this proposal might represent an important step forward toward unlocking the full potential of European non-profit organisations, including philanthropy. “We will continue working with the European Parliament and the philanthropic sector to establish common standards for philanthropic organisations.”said Vice-President Schinas. “We need to build a common ground for the creation of a European philanthropic single market.”
During the conversation with philanthropy leaders, Vice-President Schinas and Oleksandr Sushko, Executive Director, International Renaissance Foundation, discussed Ukraine’s potential candidate status for becoming a member of the EU.
Ewa Kulik-Bielinska, Executive Director, Stefan Batory Foundation, flagged some concerns about the migration and refugee issues in Poland and neighbouring countries, and Vice-President Schinas made it clear that temporary protection instruments will be followed by long-term solutions.
Neil Heslop, Chief Executive, Charities Aid Foundation, ended the meeting by reiterating the need to remove barriers to cross-border philanthropy in order to make it possible for philanthropic actors to effectively intervene in the Ukrainian crisis, and around other important societal issues.