Driving standards ever higher in F2F fundraisingMay 17, 2023
EU anti-money laundering & counter-terrorism financing policy & its impact on civil societyJune 28, 2023
This month, as Sweden prepares to hand over EU Presidency to Spain, our Brussels correspondent Patrick Gibbels provides an update on what’s going on in Brussels that is of relevance to EFA members and Fundraising Europe readers.
The Swedish EU Presidency is approaching its final month of chairing the EU Council. With several crises, such as the security crisis in Ukraine, overshadowing the Brussels policy agenda, important files for EFA members remain in limbo as working parties at EU level were unable to make meaningful progress. As Sweden will soon be handing the reins to Spain – where do we stand?
One file that did make it to the finish line (well, almost) is the package on Anti Money Laundering and Terrorist financing. The three core pieces of draft legislation within the AMLD package – the EU “Single Rulebook” regulation; the regulation establishing the European Anti Money Laundering Authority (AMLA); and the actual 6th Anti-Money Laundering Directive – have been adopted by the European Parliament’s lead committees in March, followed by a mandate by the European Parliament’s plenary to enter into inter-institutional negotiations. Once the Parliament and the Council come to an agreement, the implementation phase can start.
Far less progress was made on the e-Privacy file, which is of high relevance to EFA and its members as well. One of the core elements of this proposal is the regulation of digital and telephone outreach by organisations to citizens. Those organisations engaging in telephone outreach would be identifiable as such by a new telephone prefix, which in itself might not be a problem. However, telecom carriers might be given the option to offer blanket blocks of said numbers to their customer base. In other words, enabling customers to opt out of being called by numbers carrying this prefix. If such a rule is adopted, in practice that would mean that these prefix blocks would technically and effectively override the explicit consent to be contacted that NPOs have received from their donors and potential donors. This could have major implications. The rules are aimed at direct marketers but will also affect NPOs, as they too rely heavily on direct outreach by telephone and would fall within the scope of the proposed rules. The proposal has been in a deadlock at European Council level and there does not appear to be an appetite to push the matter up on the agenda – leaving potentially affected stakeholders in suspense.
Regarding the file on unaddressed printed advertising, a.k.a. door drops, pressure from certain EU Member States on the EU has been mounting. These Member States advocate the introduction of an EU-wide opt-in scheme regarding unaddressed printed advertising. Needless to say that this proposal is making NPOs across Europe nervous, as they rely heavily on door-to-door advertising to raise awareness for their causes and to garner support and donors. Currently, most countries have opt-out schemes in place. Whilst people that do not wish to be approached are likely to take the necessary actions to opt-out of unaddressed advertising, NPOs fear that not many citizens would go out of their way to opt in to receive it, which would make the jobs of fundraisers more difficult and could mean a significant reduction in potential donors. So far, the EU has not taken any steps towards drafting an EU proposal on the matter, but it is important for the sector to actively educate the EU institutions as to the negative implications of such a measure.
Cross border activities of associations
On a more positive note, the European Parliament’s resolution on cross-border activities of associations was well received. The European Commission followed up with a public consultation and is now expected to table a proposal, possibly in the last quarter of 2023. The initiative seeks to ensure full single market freedoms for associations, simplifying their cross-EU activities and promoting their fundamental rights.
EFA will remain to be your eyes and ears in Brussels and we will notify you of any relevant developments at EU level.
About Patrick Gibbels
Patrick is EFA’s public affairs columnist in Brussels.
He is the director of Gibbels Public Affairs.
Follow Patrick @GPA_Brussels.
Read more from Patrick in our View from Brussels column here.