With France officially taking over the rotating Presidency of the EU Council on New Year’s Day, our public affairs columnist Patrick Gibbels takes a look at its programme and what it might mean for the sector.
On January 1, France officially took over the rotating Presidency of the EU Council from its predecessor Slovenia. Traditionally, every Presidency presents its priorities at the beginning of its six-month tenure. The EU Council Presidencies work in Trios, which means that a wider trio programme is developed and agreed between the three consecutive presidencies within the trio, upon which the individual programmes are based. France is at the helm of a trio with Czechia and Sweden respectively, therefore the French Presidency programme sets the tone for the EU Member States’ general policy priorities for the coming 18 months.
We analysed the French programme and what it might mean for NPOs and the fundraising sector.
The Trio Priorities are thematically organised into four pillars: to protect citizens and freedoms; to promote a new growth and investment model for Europe; to build a greener and more socially equitable Europe; a global Europe. Within these pillars, the French Presidency has incorporated a number of files that have been on EFA’s radar and that affect the sector.
The French Presidency will continue work on the ePrivacy Regulation concerning the respect for private life and the protection of personal data in electronic communications, which clarifies and complements the General Data Protection Regulation whilst protecting the rights and freedoms of individuals and legal entities with regard to the supply and use of electronic communications services. I wrote on this subject in previous editions of Fundraising Europe, the new rules and potential restrictions on digital and telephone outreach can become considerably burdensome for fundraisers. EFA has been actively advocating on behalf of the sector.
Data Act and e-ID
Similarly, The Presidency will begin work on the Data Act, which, together with the Data Governance Act already adopted, which is aimed at creating a reliable legal framework enabling data exchange whilst ensuring that sharing mechanisms are secure. In order to produce practical results for European citizens, the Presidency will continue work on creating a European digital identity. A clear data act and a better use of cross-border electronic identification (e-ID) could be of benefit to the day to day business and administration of NPOs, especially those operating cross-border.
Anti-Money Laundering (and terrorism financing)
A high priority will be placed on protecting financial transactions against cyber and criminal threats. The Presidency will continue the work on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism by creating a European supervisory authority, and revising the rules on transfers of funds. It will hold a ministerial conference on sovereignty in the face of financial crime as early as 21 January 2022. Whilst it is important to stop money laundering and the financing of criminal activities, we must ensure that the work of fundraisers is not disproportionately hampered by restrictions based on a one-size-fits-all approach by the EU.
In line with the above, the Presidency will undertake work on future initiatives designed to strengthen administrative cooperation between Member States and action to counter tax evasion and avoidance.
EFA will continue to monitor these policies closely and we will update you on any meaningful developments regarding these files in more detail, as they progress through the EU Institutions during the French Presidency.
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.
Photo by jlxp on Pixabay
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