Associations: Reform of missed opportunities

By Christian BlockLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

The reform from 2023 means obligations, confusion and bureaucracy for associations. The opportunity was also missed to take account of developments in voluntary work, say voices from the sector. An issue for the new government?

"Most of our organisations and the Cercle itself were very surprised that we were not consulted at all. Even though we only represent 100 of the more than 8,000 associations that exist in Luxembourg, we have a very specific sector." These are the words of Nicole Ikuku, Director of the Cercle de Coopération of development NGOs, in response to the reform of the legislation on non-profit organisations and foundations passed last year.

Like the umbrella organisation, other associations in the country probably felt the same way when, more or less unexpectedly, a report from the Council of State was presented at the beginning of February 2023, in the final phase of the last legislature, and the intention of the majority at the time to finalise the reform of the 1928 text before the summer break and thus before the parliamentary elections on 8 October became clear.

Questions and uncertainties

Richard Graf, Co-Vice President of the Cercle, has analysed the text of the law in detail and identified a number of weak points that may seem technical but could have far-reaching consequences for Luxembourg's associative life.

One example is the provisions regarding bookkeeping. "What is not clear is that when a law says 'comptabilité en partie double' (double-entry bookkeeping, ed.), it means everything and nothing." The law does provide for the possibility of a grand-ducal regulation "which may provide for a scheme for the presentation of the statement of revenue and expenditure and specify the procedures for its submission". However, the Ministry of Justice does not envisage such a regulation "at the moment […] because it is not certain that there is a need for it", as it told the Journal in a written statement.

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