European Union trade commissioner Peter Mandelson has lent his support to a new European third sector leaders' network.
The network is being set up by Acevo, Swedish voluntary sector umbrella body Ideell Arena and French group La Ligue de L'Enseignement to make it easier for executives of non-profits to share experiences and information.
"This is an interesting, creative and rather important venture," Mandelson said. "The commission needs a network of third sector leaders, and they themselves need networks to share knowledge."
He added that he hoped the network would help shape thinking in Europe.
"The commission has no monopoly on wisdom," he said. "We need to work closely with civil society."
The groups are finalising how the network will operate, but Stephen Bubb, chief executive of Acevo, stressed it would be non-political.
"We want to keep it non-bureaucratic and flexible," he added.