2008: FAIB Socio-Economic Survey

BELGIUM AND INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATIONS: FAIB Survey 2007 - 2008 (published in January 2009)

The President of the FAIB – Federation of European and International Associations established in Belgium, Mr André De Schutter, reported the results of the most recent five-yearly socio-economic survey carried out in 2008 by the Federation among its members. According to statistics published by the Union of International Associations (UIA), the number of European and international associations established in Belgium continues to increase: Belgium and Brussels rank high in the list of countries and cities in the world which host international associations.

The principal trends of the survey carried out in 1997 were confirmed, and indicate the growing socio-economic importance of the international association movement for the host country. European associations (with members in Europe) represent 66% of the total; the other associations are fully international. The majority of associations have their headquarters in the Région de Bruxelles Capitale: 85% are based in the Brussel-Capital region compared with 78% in 1997.

As far as employment in international associations is concerned, extrapolation from the figures from international associations established in Belgium shows the following:

  • Belgian citizens: 4.563 full time, 321 part time and 173 self-employed: total 5.057
  • EU citizens: 4.439 full time, 337 part time and 126 self-employed: total 4.901
  • Non-EU citizens: 272 full time, 8 part time and 16 self-employed: total 296
  • Total 9.720 full time, 773 part time and 321: total 10.814

The figures indicate an increase of 32% in the jobs created by international associations in the period between 1997 and 2008.

As to the income of these associations, it appears that 84% comes from countries outside Belgium, 11% from Belgium, and that 5% results from subsidies and donations. The majority, 83%, of these funds are spent in Belgium to cover the costs of administration and of employing personnel. In addition to this direct income, the economic benefit from visits and meetings organized in Belgium should be taken into account:

  • 32% of visitors stay one day, compared with 42% in 1997
  • 41% of visitors stay overnight, compared with 40% in 1997
  • 18% of visitors stay 2-3 days and nights, compared with 12% in 1997
  • 9% of visitors stay more than 3 days and nights, compared with 6% in 1997
  • By extrapolating these figures to cover all the international associations established in Belgium, one can deduce that their budget amounts to 1.640.257.898 Euro per year, compared with 911.008 Euro in 1997, and that 83% of that budget is spent in Belgium.

In 2007, 95% of visitors are from the E.U. and European countries and 5% from outside Europe.

With this survey, we wish to impress upon the federal, regional and local authorities in our country the importance, both economic and cultural, of international associations.

The FAIB devotes all its efforts to this task. It is important that the specific qualities of the international association sector should be recognized: associations should be welcomed and greeted with simplified legislation, instead of the battery of administrative constraints which are difficult to understand, and the constantly changing legislation to which they are subject. Positive development in this sector is in the interests of us all.

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