The third sector and the European Union policy process: an initial evaluation

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Series Details Volume 6, Number 2, Pages 283-307
Publication Date June 1999
ISSN 1350-1763
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The third, voluntary or non-profit sector has recently emerged as a recognized actor in the EU policy process. Yet, at the same time, most of the initiatives associated with it have been characterized by inertia, delays and perceived low salience from the perspective of many of the leading actors involved. This article represents a first attempt to explore and explain this situation, drawing upon Kingdon's 'independent streams' approach. Five interrelated third sector policy initiatives are discussed: the European Association Statute; Declaration 23 attached to the Maastricht Treaty; a 1997 Communication dealing with the role of associations and foundations in Europe; the third sector's involvement in the Structural Funds; and the third sector's role in overseas development.

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