A coalition of five large charities, including the NSPCC and the RNIB, has written to the Foreign Office seeking consultative status in the UK's EU presidency, which begins in July.
There are no arrangements for voluntary organisations to be consulted on any aspect of the tenure, even though a civil-society consultation group was formed in 1998, the last time the UK held the presidency.
CSV, Sense and the RSPB also signed the letter to foreign secretary Jack Straw, along with umbrella bodies the NCVO, SCVO, Nicva and Bond.
It asked Straw to send the coalition a copy of the schedule of presidency events. It argued the sector should be consulted because it campaigns for legislative change in the EU and delivers EU-funded programmes.
Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the NCVO, said: "Voluntary bodies are increasingly affected by EU decisions on employment legislation, children's rights, environmental legislation and disability issues."