European Philanthropy: an untapped potential (Exploratory opinion at the request of the Romanian Presidency)

EESC opinion: European Philanthropy: an untapped potential (Exploratory opinion at the request of the Romanian Presidency)

Key points

  • The EESC fully acknowledges the complementary and innovative added value that philanthropy can bring to social cohesion by boosting common values and making our society more resilient. The Committee recommends that the Member States recognise philanthropy as a form of demonstrating societal commitment and engagement, create space for philanthropy and engage with philanthropic actors with appropriate legislative or non-legislative initiatives.
  • The EESC calls on the Member States to establish an enabling environment for philanthropy in line with EU freedoms and fundamental rights, which encourage philanthropic and citizen action, private giving to public benefit causes and the creation of philanthropic organisations, as well as ensuring that national and EU security measures are risk-based, proportionate and evidence-based but also promote transparency in philanthropic action.
  • The Committee believes that the Member States should strengthen social protection systems. This will improve the complementarity and capability of philanthropic organisations to meet the real needs of the most vulnerable people and to address issues which are not fully covered by public institutions or the private sector.
  • As the free flow of capital is at the core of the EU's single market, the EESC considers that ensuring the legal and practical application of this fundamental freedom coupled with the non-discrimination principle to facilitate cross-border philanthropic giving and investments should be a priority for the EU and the Member States. Supranational legal forms to facilitate philanthropic engagement should also be considered.
  • The EU could leverage the impact of private resources for the common good by introducing financial instruments, for example via the 2018 Invest EU programme, that act as a catalyst for co-granting with philanthropy, that stimulate co-investments and more social impact investments and that provide guarantee tools to reduce the financial risks of mission-related investments by philanthropic organisations. It should also facilitate engagement in social innovation.