Help our members to operate in Belgium 
by Danièle Vranken, Secretary General FAIB, the Federation of European & International Associations based in Belgium
Brussels. The FAIB membership currently covers around 280 International Associations (IAs), 23 associate members - offering their expertise in matters impacting IAs - such as fiscal, auditing & accounting, human resources, statutory & other legal provisions, public & EU-affairs …
It is worth highlighting that - according to the data provided by the Union of International Associations, UIA - Belgium is home to more than 2.200 international associations, a clear indicator of the essential role of these associations to society in general.
The major role of FAIB is to help its members operate in Belgium by convincing Belgian authorities of the socio-economic value of this important sector. The FAIB addresses all issues of interest to all its members, whatever their field of activity, by organizing seminars, reporting in its quarterly newsletter and through occasional newsflashes notably on fiscal, legal, human resources, administrative and general matters.
As an example, the two last conferences were dedicated respectively to the European Transparency Register (17 March) and "How to deal with Brussels Media" (28 April). The FAIB General Assembly (also open to non members) will take place on 28 May; the keynote speaker will be Mr Philippe Maystadt, former President of the European Investment Bank. Details and registration form on FAIB's website.
FAIB provides a platform for exchange between its members who can share their concerns and experience with their peers who often tend to work in isolation concentrating on their own subjects. The FAIB network is the ideal forum to avoid this silo-work and come up with solutions.
FAIB also coordinates presentations and study tours to cities and conference centres in all parts of the world. Advantages exclusive to FAIB member associations can be found on FAIB’s website.
The surveys published by the FAIB based on a broad consultation amongst associations based in Belgium also provide useful data otherwise not available or at high cost. These are for instance a remuneration benchmark of all staff employed by IAs (from the receptionist to the DG) and the quinquennial socio-economic survey of which the major elements of the 2013 edition are summarised below:
Basic data:
+ The number of international associations (IAs) based in Belgium is constantly increasing: 2.265 in 2013 vs. 1.972 in 2008, of which 94% are based in the Brussels-Capital region, bringing Brussels to number one in the number of IAs hosted;
+ Estimated direct employment: 31.400, including volunteers (paid staff: 13.400 full-time equivalent)
+ Indirect employment (hotel, restaurant, service providers, etc.): +/- 1.250 per association / year; office space occupied: 205.000 sqm
+ Associations generate some 114.000 day visits to Belgium & approximately 260.000 overnights per year.
+ Income and expenses of these IAs in Belgium is estimated at 2.9€ billion.
This survey (of which a full copy is available from and directly from FAIB's new website) also includes an evaluation of Belgium as a host country. It is still widely shared with Belgian authorities so as to convince them of the need to pay more attention to the valuable stakeholders represented by the INPAs. A new survey will soon be launched with the support of FAIB's Associate Member at Deloitte. It will collect data on how the membership fee of members of INPAs is calculated (contribution key).
FAIB members can be classified into four major categories: Trade associations / Professional associations / Civil Society associations/federations: (patients, culture, education, environment / Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and other Charity organizations. Furthermore, several corporate entities have signed a partnership agreement with the FAIB.
Please click here for the list of FAIB members.
This is just a brief overview of the somewhat ignored but fascinating world of associations to which I am proud to contribute!
Danièle Vranken, Secretary General FAIB (