According to a recent survey of Finland’s European elected and potential parliamentary candidates, the majority (76%) of politicians think that regulation of key areas such as crowdfunding and data protection should be harmonised.
The Finnish Fundraising Association, VaLa, commissioned agency Taloustutkimut (21 January – 14 February 2014) to research the views of politicians and political decision makers on fundraising, ahead of May’s European elections.
Elected European parliamentary candidates were included in the interview process, representing eight political parties in Finland. Two thirds of the candidates said that they were regular donors, compared to 11% of the Finnish population.
The survey focused on topical issues for nonprofits, including cross border giving, taxation and crowdfunding. The candidates indicated whether regulation for these areas should be defined and agreed at a national or EU level.
Three quarters (76%) of those interviewed said that most of these areas should be harmonised on EU level. In particular, participants indicated that crowdfunding, data protection and payment services (SEPA) are the areas which would benefit from common understanding and legislation in Europe. Less than 43% of politicians expressed an interest in harmonising VAT for European nonprofit organisations.
Politicians were divided as to how public collections should be legislated. At the moment Finland has very strict legislation on fundraising, but 43% of the interviewees considered that the law should be formulated at an EU level.
Finland will have its own national parliamentary elections in 2015. The current programme of the Finnish Government promises that, ahead of the national election, 'the regulations concerning fundraising and tax exemption will be clarified'. VaLa has doubts that the Government will succeed in meeting this timeframe.
Commenting on the importance of the European elections, Pia Tornikoski, Secretary General of Vala, adds:
"The operating conditions of civil society organisations as providers of voluntary and peer support, assistance and special services will be strengthened, their resources increased, and the regulations concerning fundraising and tax exemption will be clarified. These organisations are non-profit operators with great importance for the Finnish democracy and the wellbeing of the Finnish people."