The European Commission on February 8 proposed a new statute for European Foundations. It is hoped that this new statute will give increased visibility and increase uniformity of conditions to European foundations working in the public interest.
Foundations raise money, give grants and run projects in a number of areas of public interest, including education, research, the arts, health and social services, culture or protection of the environment. Increasingly foundations are working across or between Member States. The Commission intends that the proposal for a new Statute will allow such European Foundations to be subject to uniform requirements across the EU, and for them to receive the same tax advantages as granted by Member States to their national foundations without any additional procedures or costs.
European Foundations which operate in at least two countries will be able to adopt ’European Foundation’ statute. They will receive a "European Foundation" label which the Commission hopes will make them recognisable to donors in other countries. This should then lead to a reduction in the legal and administrative costs of foundations’ cross-border operations (a Commission impact assessment estimated that the cost to foundations due to national barriers was between €90 million and €102 million per year), allowing Foundations to further contribute more to the social economy and to financing innovative initiatives for the benefit of the public.
The European Foundation Statute was announced by Commissioner Barnier in the Single Market Act (IP/11/469). It is foreseen that in some cases two foundations in one or more countries could merge to form one. They would need assets of €25,000 to be founded and be required to fully report all of their financial transactions.