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The third sector in Europe: five theses

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In recent years, the third or voluntary sector has become more important for ‘Europe’, as indicated by the 1997 Communication of the European Commission and various Declarations attached to the EU Treaties. These official statements not only suggest greater political interest in the third sector, they also seem to indicate that the European Union is taking a more active role in policy-making in this field. What lies behind these efforts, what developments are likely to take place in the coming years, and how will they affect the third sector? These questions will be explored with the help of five theses against the background of recent research findings in the field.

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