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New NGO Coalition To Take Concerns About New Fundraising Restrictions To Council Of Europe

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A new action group set up to oppose new fundraising rules implemented by the Voluntary Organisations Commissioner will be writing to the Council of Europe regarding what it describes as a threat to citizens’ right of association. 

Voluntary Action Group’s (VAG) latest move follows the publication of a list of proposals by the Council for the Voluntary Sector, which the action group has said do not reflect the position of a majority of voluntary organisations.  

VAG is composed of representatives from the Richmond Foundation, Repubblika, Din l-Art Helwa, SPCA Gozo and Socjeta Muzikali San Guzepp AD 1889. 

The Council for Voluntary Sector (CVS) is a distinct legal personality to the Commissioner’s office and is made of one member appointed by the minister to represent the government, four members appointed by the minister from the voluntary sector, and six members elected directly by the voluntary sector. 

Last week, it presented a 27-page document in which it called for a major overhaul of new regulations on fundraising, which have been described as a threat to the voluntary sector. 

While the recommendations included many points that the VAG agreed with, they did not go far enough given that they would place a number of restrictions on voluntary organisations’ fundraising activities. 

The proposals in their current format were “unworkable”, the VAG said.

Among the proposals made by the CVS was for the new regulations to be suspended, with VAG noting that legal notices could not simply be suspended meaning that unless repealed, the regulations would legally speaking remain in force. 

Furthermore, VAG said that the CVS’ proposals had ignored their main feedback regarding the need to apply for a permit in order to carry out fundraising activities. 

VAG said the nation was behind it and was “scandalised” by the attack on the sector. 

“The government, the commissioner and the council must stop treating voluntary organisations and their volunteers like suspects. We are the best that the country has to offer. We are promoters of the common good. We make the country proud. We put solidarity into the practice,” the VAG said.

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