You will have seen from this newsletter that FERMA has appointed its first full time European Affairs Representative, Julien Bedhouche. Julien, who has a master’s degree in European law, will play an important role in strengthening FERMA’s ability to represent the interests of risk managers across our membership with the European Commission and other European bodies.

The process of EU law making is a complex one, and FERMA members will benefit from having a full time member of staff with his knowledge on the FERMA team. He will also be part of our mission to make the operations of the EU more transparent to members and reinforce our collaboration with members on EU regulatory developments.

I have now joined the scientific committee of Visit Brussels, the city’s official promotion organisation, with the idea of strengthening awareness of the role of FERMA and other associations in the life of the city. This is already bearing fruit. Association managers have been invited to attend the “European Association Summit” which will take place on the second day of the important European Business Summit in Brussels on 15-16 May.

The European Business Summit is similar to the World Economic Forum on a European bias. It attracts about 2000 delegates from about 60 countries with a strong representation of top level politicians as well as business. This year the theme is new trends in industry, which will be of particular interest to some association managers as well as FERMA members.

We already have a good relationship with a few of the many other associations based in Brussels: the internal auditors’ organisation ECIIA, insurance intermediaries’ BIPAR and directors’ association ECODA. Clearly there are others with which we have interests in common, and I hope to use my work with Visit Brussels as a springboard for future collaboration.

We are not a large association by comparison with some, but there is much we can do to promote risk management and the interest of risk managers. Julien’s appointment and our increasing links with other European organisations are important steps in this direction.