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Brussels, 16 February 2009

Commission consults on a possible European Foundation Statute

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the difficulties foundations face when operating cross-border, on the content of a possible European Foundation Statute and on how a Statute might affect donors' and founders' attitudes. The consultation is linked to a feasibility study which the Commission has made public at the same time. Responses will be taken into account in assessing the need for and the impact of a potential Statute. The deadline for responses is 15 May 2009.

Internal Market and Services Commissioner Charlie McCreevy said: "Foundations play an important role in Europe, especially in supporting public benefit causes. We need to ensure that we have appropriate structures in place in Europe to support their activities which are increasingly cross-border in nature. To be able to make reasoned policy choices we need more information on the cross-border life of foundations and on the obstacles they face in the Single Market. The opinions of donors and founders are equally important. I encourage all interested parties to give us their views."

The Commission has taken no decision yet as to the need for a European Foundation Statute or its content. This consultation has been launched in order for the Commission to be better able to assess these issues. If a European Foundation Statute were to be proposed, the objective would be similar to that sought with other European legal forms, i.e. to make possible the use of a single legal form instead of up to 27 national ones. The European Foundation would be parallel to the national legal forms and its use would be optional.

The questionnaire

The questionnaire is divided in two sets of questions:

  • The first set contains general questions about the need for and desirability of a new legal form together with questions about the content of a possible European Foundation Statute. It also contains questions targeted especially to foundations aimed at obtaining concrete information about difficulties and hindrances foundations face in the Internal Market as well as about their interest in a possible statute.
  • The second set is targeted at donors to and founders of foundations. The Commission wishes to obtain views on the impact of a potential European Foundation Statute on their attitudes towards donating to and establishing foundations.

How to take part

The questionnaire is available at:

Responses should be sent at the latest on 15 May 2009 to DG MARKT Unit F2, European Commission, B-1049 Brussels or to The consultation of donors and founders is carried out by means of an online questionnaire.


The assessment of the need for a European Foundation Statute was identified as a medium-term priority in the EU Company Law and Corporate Governance Action Plan adopted in 2003. A public consultation and hearing on future priorities for the Action Plan was carried out in spring 2006 demonstrating a need for further work in this area. Following an open tender, the Commission launched a feasibility study in November 2007, which was carried out jointly by the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Hamburg and the University of Heidelberg.

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