With Sweden taking over the EU Presidency on 1 January, this month our Brussels correspondent Patrick Gibbels takes a look at its priorities, and their relevancy for EFA, and the European fundraising sector.
The European Council is the EU institution that defines the general political direction and priorities of the European Union. The Council is led by its Presidency, which is held by one of the 27 EU membership on a 6-month rotating schedule. This way, every European Member State gets a chance to push their national priorities by setting the EU policy agenda. Therefore, knowing the work programme of the current (and future) Presidency is an important part in EFA’s own EU agenda setting. On 1 January Sweden took over the EU Presidency. These are the priorities relevant for EFA.
The fundraising sector has historically been an attractive target for money launderers. EFA is aware of this and has been actively involved in the EU developments regarding Anti Money Laundering and terrorist financing. The Swedish Presidency will seek to continue the fight against international crime by advancing the efforts to tackle money laundering and the financing of terrorism. This will involve advancing the negotiations on establishing a new EU body in this area and on the ‘rulebook’.
Similarly, EFA has been quite active on the upcoming ePrivacy Regulation, which is currently making its way through the EU decision-making procedure. As I have written before in Fundraising Europe, some of the proposed changes in the Regulation can have a substantial impact on the day-to-day business of fundraisers and other NPOs. The Swedish Presidency will continue negotiations with the European Parliament on the ePrivacy Regulation.
The Swedish Presidency has also indicated that it will continue the work on the proposal for new VAT rules for the digital age. At the end of last year, the European Commission published a legislative proposal regarding VAT in the digital age – the “ViDA initiative – as part of its action plan for fair and simple taxation. This package aims to improve VAT efficiency and to minimise VAT fraud. This is done by modernising VAT reporting obligations and facilitating e-invoicing, extending the scope of the VAT rules for the platform economy and moving towards organizations having one single VAT registration in the EU. Given the cross-border nature of many fundraisers and NPOs, this is an initiative on EFA’s watch list.
Lastly, the EU has been moving forward on a proposal for a regulation on the transparency and targeting of political advertising. Because definitions in this proposal are considered to be a bit vague and “muddy” there is a risk that new rules might affect the work of NPOs as well. The Swedish Presidency has indicated that it will work to advance the EU’s work regarding the negotiations on the Regulation on the transparency and targeting of political advertising. EFA will monitor this file closely in order to signal any potential unintended consequences for fundraisers in their campaigning and outreach work.
EFA will keep you informed on any relevant developments regarding these files. On 1 July 2023, Spain will take over the EU Presidency from Sweden, at which time we will re-evaluate the police agenda.
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.
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