FAIB Celebrates Its 70th Year Of Existence And The 100th Of The Adoption Of The Law Of 25 October 1919 Ruling INPAs

14th Feb, 2019

On 24 January 2019, the Federation of European & International Associations based in Belgium celebrated these two anniversaries in the sumptuous Townhall of Brussels City, put at its disposal by Brussels authorities. The 130 participants were very impressed not only by this exceptional venue, but also by the different topics covered during the event. 

After a few words of welcome by the Minister-President of the Brussels Region, Mr Rudi Vervoort and a presentation of background information on the two anniversaries, seven panellists from various representative associations and the European Commission:

  • Ms Ester ASIN, (CEO, WWF EU Policy Office)
  • Ms Florence Bindelle (Secretary General, European Issuers)
  • Mr Gwenole Cozigou (Director, Industrial Transformation and Advanced Value Chains, DG GROW, European Commission)
  • Mr Adrian Harris (FAIB President)
  • Mr Marco Mensink (Director General, CEFIC)
  • Mr Gerry Salole (Chief Executive, European Foundation Centre)

Facilitated by, Cartsten Wendt, the speakers openly debated on “The role of associations in shaping modern legislation”, that – according to several comments from the audience – shed another light on a highly topical issue …

Detailed information on the background of these major celebrations will available on the FAIB's website, but in a nutshell:


  • 1949: creation (at the initiative of the UIA, encouraged by the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs) of the “Fédération des Associations Internationales établies en Belgique / Verbond van Internationale in België Gevestigde Verenigingen” - Official Registration: 16 June 1949;
  • Chaired over the years by renowned statesmen such as Paul Van Zeeland, Albert Théatre and Pierre Harmel, and later Ambassador André De Schutter (17 years), Daniel Van Espen (7 years) and Adrian Harris (since 2017);
  • 1983: creation by the FAIB of the International Association Centre (MAI);
  • 2004: While preserving its initial denomination, the word “European” was added to its name to emphasize the European nature of most of its members


On 25 October 1919, an innovative law granting international associations the civil personification was enacted; two years before the law on (national) non-profit organisations.

It first only referred to associations with a scientific purpose (association internationale à but scientifique); in 1954 – notably owing to the intervention of FAIB, the scope of the law was broadened to be philanthropic, religious, artistic or educational.

In 2002, the scope of the law is further extended - with the active involvement of FAIB’s president Ambassador André De Schutter - to incorporate associations that "pursue a non-profit-making aim of international utility".

The originality of the 1919 law

The 1919 law is and remains one of the few laws on non-profit associations with an international dimension.

It served as an example for the drafting of European Convention on the recognition of the legal personality of non-governmental organisations, as well as for the draft of the European Commission's proposal on the statute for a European association, although the latter has not been adopted yet.

A hundred years later

Still today, on the eve of the centenary of the 25 October 1919 law, the FAIB is actively coordinating the position of the international association sector on the reform of “company and association law” currently at stake. The draft law amending the Code on companies and associations is in its final stages before its expected adoption in a forthcoming plenary session.

Ms Ghislaine De Coninck managed the federation for some 25 years and much of what she initiated is still in place today. In 2009, she passed the baton to Danièle Vranken who manages the Federation in close and friendly collaboration with a very supportive Board of Directors and the know-how of its Associate members and a dedicated team.

Together, they are working hard to modernise the “old lady” of which some tangible examples are: the broadening of the Board to make it more representative of the diverse membership of FAIB, a fresh approach to communication with revamped newsletters, web site and communication tools, the salary benchmark comparing remuneration at the level of trade associations and NGOs broken down by type of position). Soon the quinquennial socio-economic survey of the FAIB will be launched with the support of visit.brussels to which a large response from the sector is welcome.


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