But when the Commission and Parliament do something good, it's worth congratulating them. Indeed there is a danger that because of widespread Euroscepticism we fail to notice important changes. Such changes to funding for our sector were announced this week. These major advances are largely due to the lobbying of the Euclid network, based at ACEVO and led by my Director, Filippo Addarii.
The European Parliament has approved new funding rules that will make it easier for charities to apply for and receive European Union grants.
The decision was the last step needed to introduce the European Financial Regulation, which governs how all EU funding is administered.
This includes the Social Fund and the Regional Development Fund, both of which are likely to have several billion pounds available for charities.
The new regulation has set time limits for the funding process that mean charities should take a maximum of nine months to receive funding. At the moment, the process often takes well over a year.
Under the new regulation, charities can count in-kind payment and volunteering as match funding for lower-value grants, and can include the amount of VAT they pay in their costs when applying for grants.
In my view one of the most important changes is that to the regulation has increased the threshold below which charities can use simpler administrative procedures, and allows charities to build up surpluses and reserves without being penalised. At the moment if you receive a strategic grant you are not allowed to make a surplus!!
The new version of the regulation will comes into force in January 2013. So it's 3 cheers to Euclid! Great lobbying.
PS. Congratulations to Charlie Elphicke MP and his Dog Star. He took home the trophy in the Westminster Dog of the Year contest yesterday. A cute picture in the Times. However not a patch on the wonderful Bubb Hound, who is the most beautiful dog in the UK!