What association does FERMA belong to?

FERMA is part of an important and growing business sector in Belgium – that of international associations based in the country, most commonly in Brussels. This group of organisations has its own body which provides a platform for members to share concerns and experiences with their peers: the Federation of European and International Associations (FAIB).

FAIB represents 280 of more than 2250 extremely varied European and international organisations that are established in Belgium today. FERMA is one of them, and FERMA’s Executive Director, Florence Bindelle is a member of the FAIB board.

In addition to membership activities, FAIB has a lobbying role for its members in demonstrating the socio-economic value of their activities to the Belgian government. FAIB estimates that the turnover of these international associations in Belgium is about €2.9 billion a year, a clear indicator of the essential role of these associations to society in general.

Every five years, FAIB conducts a survey of Belgian-based members of the Union of Associations, including an evaluation of Belgium as a host country. We share the results with the Belgian authorities so as to convince them of the need to pay more attention to the valuable stakeholders represented by the international associations.

Types of members
Members can be classified into four major categories:

  • Trade associations are representatives of their industries presenting their members’ views on legislation at all regulatory levels (European Commission, Parliament, national and regional bodies).
  • Professional associations, such as FERMA, offer a forum for their members to exchange views and findings and draw the attention of regulators and of the public to their concerns, achievements and perspectives.
  • Civil society bodies, such as patient groups, cultural bodies, education and the environment, offer an interactive forum for their members to exchange views and share experiences and concerns.
  • Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other charities play an essential role in alerting public opinion to critical situations around the world and address issues according to their specific role.

FAIB helps such varied organisations to share concerns and experiences since they often work in isolation concentrating on their own subjects. It addresses issues of interest to all its members, whatever their field of activity, by organising seminars, and reporting in its quarterly newsletter and occasional newsflashes, notably on fiscal, legal, human resources, administrative and general matters.

This is just a brief overview of the somewhat ignored but fascinating world of associations to which I am proud to cooperate!

The FAIB Socio-Economic Survey 2013 is available from the website at