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Handbook on Third Sector Policy in Europe

Multi-level Processes and Organized Civil Society

Edited by Jeremy Kendall

While scholarship on the social, economic and political contributions of organisations existing between the market and the state has proliferated in recent years, no sustained attention has previously been paid to how such organisations are collectively treated by, and respond to, public policy. The expert contributors examine the policy environment for, and evolving policy treatment of, the third sector in the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom from a comparative perspective. They also look at how the third sector relates to multi-level European policy processes, including the Open Method of Co-ordination, the Community Method, nationally-led ‘partnership’ approaches within an overall EU framework and the United Nations International Year of Volunteering; an initiative implemented in the EU but originating externally.
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Chapter 10: The European Statute of Association: Why Still an Obscure but Contested Symbol in a Sea of Indifference and Scepticism?

Jeremy Kendall and Laurent Fraisse


Jeremy Kendall and Laurent Fraisse Europe needs inspiration to take a further step towards its destiny as a Community. Nonprofit organizations are an opportunity to be taken in this respect. Inertia must be overcome and this opportunity must be boldly seized. (European Parliament, 1987, p. 7) 10.1 Introduction In a paper published in the mid-1990s in Voluntas, Ole Gjems-Onstad rhetorically posed the question of whether the idea of a European Association was a ‘symbol in need of friends’ (Gjems-Onstad, 1995). Over the decade that followed, the proposed Statute and accompanying regulation – which lay at the core of the Parliamentary proposals put forward a decade before that referred to in this chapter’s epigraph – has still intermittently remained on the European policy agenda. But despite an apparently more favourable environment created by general progress on European corporate law, and the passage of time with its opportunities for progress, the Statute was failing to secure support at member state level. By the end of 2008, the proposal’s prospects looked bleaker than ever, having been shunted off the European Commission’s agenda in the second half of 2006 under a ‘streamlining’-oriented British Presidency seeking to prioritize and simplify. From this moment, it has not even been under active consideration as a policy option by the EU’s technocratic apparatus since it has subsequently failed to be reinstated for review under the Presidencies that followed, including that of its most obvious supporter, France, in 2008. A horizontal third sector membership group, CEDAG (see below), tenaciously continued to...

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