European Compact close to becoming reality, says NCVO

A new set of guidelines would make it easier for charities in the UK to work with the European Union and shape decisions taken in Brussels, says Oliver Henman

Oliver Henman
Oliver Henman

A European Compact is "within grasping distance", an audience of third sector leaders heard yesterday.

Speaking in London at the UK launch of the European Year of Citizens, Oliver Henman, head of European and international affairs at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, said: "We first proposed a European Compact alongside partners in France in 2009, and we are within grasping distance of seeing it become a reality."

He later told Third Sector there were indications that the European Commission would like to improve its relationships with charities across Europe and had agreed to have discussions on the subject over the course of the Year of Citizens.

Henman said that later this year the NCVO would put forward a list of key recommendations that was likely to include how a European Compact might look.

The European Year of Citizens is an EU initiative to allow civil society organisations to discuss the rights that come with EU citizenship.

The Compact, which was first launched in the UK in 1998 by Tony Blair, Prime Minister at the time, is a set of guidelines for how voluntary and public sector organisations should behave toward each other.

Henman said he hoped the sector would have a clear idea of what a European Compact should contain by the end of this year.

"This could include simplified guidance on EU funding and consultation mechanisms," he said. "For UK charities this would mean easier access to the EU and a simpler way to shape decisions taken in Brussels."

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