European Compact ‘within grasping distance’
- Thursday, 28 February 2013 10:11
- Published: Thursday, 28 February 2013 10:11
A European equivalent of the UK’s Compact agreement between government and the voluntary sector is within sight of becoming a reality, European charity leaders heard yesterday.
Speaking at the UK launch of the European Year of Citizens (1), Oliver Henman, Head of European and International Affairs at NCVO, said:
"We first proposed a European Compact alongside partners in France in 2009 and I believe we are now within grasping distance of seeing it become a reality. The European Commission has indicated it would like to improve its relationships with charities and NGOs across Europe. By the end of this year I hope we will have a clear idea of what a Euro Compact should contain. This could include simplified guidance on EU funding and consultation mechanisms. For UK charities this would mean easier access to the EU and a simpler way to shape decisions from Brussels."
The European Year of Citizens was created by the European Commission following calls from European charities for a greater say in EU decision-making. Leading activity in the year is the European Year of Citizens 2013 Alliance, a group of over 50 networks representing the leading charities across Europe (2).
Jean-Marc Roirant, Chair of the European Year of Citizens 2013 Alliance and President of the European Civic Forum said:
"By working together with all the major civil society networks that bring our sector together across Europe, we are able to share the latest expertise on issues affecting people across Europe and to find real solutions that address the needs of citizens."
Oonagh Aitken, Director of Social Action, CSV said:
"This is a great demonstration of how our sector can work together to deliver real change in Europe. We are looking forward to a full year of activity and aim to engage with local organisations across the UK."
Earlier this year NCVO chief executive, Sir Stuart Etherington, called for greater transparency in Europe, along with simplified processes for charities to access EU funds (3).
European Year of Citizens 2013 website: http://europa.eu/citizens-2013/
2) The European Year of Citizens Alliance is calling for better recognition of active citizenship, social rights and guaranteeing basic human rights: http://ey2013-alliance.eu/
3) ‘EU is crucial for Britain and the voluntary sector, but reforms are overdue’, 23 January 2013 http://www.ncvo-vol.org.uk/documents/press-releases/eu-crucial-britain-voluntary-sector-reforms-are-overdue