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THE EU Referendum: a Discussion paper for Charities – NCVO

April 18, 2016

NCVOThis document tries to be fair in setting out the issues but points out the positive effects of remaining in the EU:

Some organisations have found that working at a European level, with their counterparts in other countries as well as with the European Commission itself, has been an effective way of furthering their aims. For example:

the EU’s support for action to ‘combat discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation’ (now enshrined in UK law through the Equality Act 2010) was the result of over 400 organisations from across Europe coming together to make the case

currently over 100 UK environmental organisations, with a combined membership of more than 8 million people, are making common cause with organisations across Europe to defend the nature directives being reviewed by the European Commission.

Others have used EU standards to hold UK governments to account:

in 2015 ClientEarth brought a legal challenge against the UK government on the grounds that it has consistently failed to meet EU air quality standards, a claim upheld by the supreme court.

Similarly, the Equality and Diversity Forum, representing equalities and human rights organisations in the UK, has argued strongly that the social protection afforded by the EU provides a vital backstop for vulnerable people.

UK voluntary organisations are eligible to apply for funding from programmes run by individual directorates of the European Commission. For the period 2014–2020 this includes:

€439m earmarked for the Rights, Equality and Citizenship programme aimed at promoting non-discrimination and preventing violence against women and children

€919.5m for the Employment and Social Innovation programme

€1.3bn for the Creative Europe programme to support small and medium-sized cultural enterprises

€14.7bn Erasmus+ programme focusing on education, training, youth and sport.

It is clear that some voluntary organisations have benefitted from these programmes, in part because there is an overlap between the sector’s longstanding interest in social justice, social innovation and solidarity and the wider goals of ‘social Europe’.

The NCVO Almanac analysed general charities’ accounts and estimated that £220m was received from the EU in 2012/13, the latest year for which data is available.

Other sources show, for example, that between 2007 and 2011 over 200 UK organisations, including ACT Community Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre, participated in trans-national projects funded by the EU Culture Programme

Map of EuropeThe report is here.

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