The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is collecting views to help it develop an ‘opinion’ exploring what measures and initiatives should be taken at EU and national level to promote organised philanthropy. The opinion was commissioned by the Romanian Presidency of the EU, recognising the importance of philanthropy and the role it can play contributing to EU values, such as cohesion and social justice, and to the competitiveness of the European economy.
A recent hearing held by the EESC discussed philanthropy and its as yet untapped potential in Europe, bringing together representatives from philanthropic organisations, civil society organisations and individuals. Those discussions will be fed into the opinion, which will call for recognition of philanthropic activities, for a legal framework to cover the development of philanthropic activities and to give philanthropic organisations the same status as that held by commercial companies.
It will also argue that philanthropy should not replace public welfare systems but should be complimentary and fill gaps in cooperation with public authorities. The EESC members present at the hearing also stressed that philanthropic activities should be transparent and clearly defined.
Ionut Sibian, CEO of The Civil Society Development Foundation (CSDF) and president of the EESC study group for this opinion, emphasised that:
“In many countries, philanthropy represents a hope for community.”
Speaking to Fundraising Europe, he added: “The objective of the opinion would be to explore what measures and initiatives should be taken at EU and national levels in order to promote organised philanthropy and eliminate barriers within the internal market that are hindering the realisation of its full potential to contribute to EU values and to the competitiveness of the European economy. The opinion conclusions and recommendations would feed both into the Romanian Presidency programme and into the political priorities for the new Commission.”
Delphine Heenen, managing director of KickCancer, also commented, saying that:
“The lack of a single market for philanthropic activities creates problems for transnational collaborations, which are sometimes indispensable for accessing know-how and even for saving lives.”
Draft versions and the adopted text will be published on the EESC website. The opinion will be presented and submitted for adoption at the EESC plenary session on 20-21 March 2019.