EBU Organisation

Overview

Role

EBU provides a European platform for its membership to share views, expertise and information and to act together on matters of common interest.

With its large network of member organisations EBU brings together a wealth of expertise related to visual impairment and its implications in the daily life of millions of persons with sight loss

EBU has become a powerful, recognized voice in the international disability movement - EBU is the voice of blind and partially sighted people in Europe.

Structure

General Assembly

Each EBU member organization is represented by a national delegation that participates in the EBU General Assembly held every four years.

The General Assembly of Members is EBU's supreme governing body. Some functions carried out at the General Assembly meetings include election of the board of officers, approval of constitutional amendments, (financial) reports on work carried out in the past mandate, strategic plans for the next four years.

The founding Assemblies of EBU and WBU were held in Norway, in August of 1984. Since then, another ten General Assemblies have taken place every three, and later every four years.

The last general assembly was hosted by the Italian Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted (UICI) in Rome, Italy, from 28-30 October 2019.

Resolutions passed at all EBU General Assemblies (pdf file)

Executive body

The EBU is led by a board consisting of 5 officers (President, first and second vice presidents, treasurer and secretary general) and up to 8 ordinary members. They are elected by the EBU membership at the General Assembly for the period of four years. Board members are accountable to the General Assembly. All board members are blind or partially sighted.

The Board usually holds 3 to 4 face-to-face meetings a year. Detailed information about its composition, voting procedure, powers and functions can be found in the EBU Constitution.

Project groups

The implementation of the EBU strategic plan is entrusted to project groups led by EBU national members and is monitored by the Board.

EBU Central Office

The EBU Central Office  is based in Paris, France. It supports the Board and project groups in their work and is a central contact point for information to the EBU membership, partners, external parties and the general public.

EBU is a registered charity in France W751105073

Guiding Documents

EBU Constitution

The EBU Constitution is the governing instrument of EBU.

Strategic plan

 The key priorities and initiatives are articulated in the EBU Strategic Plan for the four year working period.

Action Plan

Discussed and approved by the EBU Board at its meeting held on 08 February 2020 in Prague, the Action Plan 2020 sets out actions to be conducted in 2020 to implement the Strategic Orientation Plan.

UNCRPD

The United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities is an important instrument in EBU work, take a look at our database on the application of the convention in different countries.

Financial Resources

Our Finances in 2019

While the European Blind Union’s 2019 financial statements show a slight deficit for the year of €5,667 (0.96% of revenues), which has not occurred since 2014, the situation is not overly concerning and is mainly explained by short-term expenditure that was not fully covered by additional revenues.

  1. EXPENDITURE.

Our fixed costs remain well controlled and overall, in line with our budget estimates. The main items are:

  • Salaries and social-security contributions, which totalled €340,900 against a forecast of €325,500 (57.5% of expenditure).
  • Numerous fees, totalling €82,700, for the translation of regular publications of our brochures and videos (€29,900), accountancy fees (€15,600), two studies on relocating the EBU’s Paris office (€18,900) and payments to individuals for report writing or presentations (€8,700).
  • Travel costs, totalling €66,700, most of which were related to projects that are 80% funded by the REC programme (€59,100) or various meetings attended by employees and members of the EBU Board.
  • The General Assembly generated expenditure of €19,000, while the rent on the Paris offices costs €13,700. We also awarded prizes and grants totalling €18,300 and finally, the Solidarity Fund made awards totalling €12,100.
  • Our general expenses (communications, insurance, purchase of supplies, bank charges and depreciation) totalled just €39,000, or 6.57% of our expenditure, which is very reasonable.

Our total expenditure was therefore €593,125, exceeding our budget estimates by €35,700.

    1. REVENUES.

Our main funding sources remain very stable from one year to the next, and are as follows:

  • The grant we receive from the European Commission, currently as part of the REC project. Thanks to the excellent preparatory work on our application and monitoring of the progress of various projects carried out by Romain FERRETTI, it was once again accepted unreservedly. As a result, we received €291,830, €38,480 more than in 2018, which represents 50.3% of our resources.
  • Contributions, which were paid by our members with remarkable promptness once again this year. The amount received was therefore identical to 2018, at €232,700 (40.1% of our resources). I would like to express my warmest thanks to all our members, whose contribution reflects their genuine interest in the work of the EBU.
  • Sponsors, who supported us in 2019 with funds totalling €15,800: this is a new source of funding that we hope to develop. On the other hand, donations fell from €7,000 to €1,540 and EBU is very sad to note that none of our members contributed to our Solidarity Fund. The ONKYO and PASCAL projects brought in €19,000 and €17,560 respectively and interest on our investments increased from €3,100 to €4,600.

Our total revenues were therefore €587,458, €30,000 more than our estimates, which explains the small deficit of €5,667.42 for 2019.

  1. BALANCE SHEET.

At 31 December 2019, we had €679,542 in our various bank accounts. The total reserves shown on the balance sheet before the income appropriation for the year was €633,560; €166,826 remained allocated to the Solidarity Fund and €22,740 to help African associations providing support for visually impaired people.

CONCLUSION.

We note the following with satisfaction at the end of 2019:

  • The promptness with which our 41 members paid their annual contribution.
  • The very significant increase in support from sponsors, a source of funding which, we hope, will continue and increase in line with the recommendations made during previous audits of our accounts.
  • The exceptional effort made this year by the Italian Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted, which drew heavily on its own resources to organise our General Assembly in Rome last October, limiting the costs of this major event for the European Blind Union. We would like to express our warmest thanks to them.

On the other hand, further efforts are needed to ensure that:

  • All members understand the importance of the Solidarity Fund and agree to show their solidarity with those who are most disadvantaged, even if they are only able to make a modest contribution, in line with their resources.
  • As the Board agreed at its meeting in February 2020, the Aid Fund for blind people in Africa is able to get quickly back up to speed and return to normal operation.

The EBU Solidarity Fund.

The statutes of the new European Blind Union Solidarity Fund were approved by the EBU Board at its meeting in Paris on 29 October 2016.

This fund is intended to provide a mechanism for organisations of blind and partially sighted people to seek support/relief if they experience financial difficulties in, among others, paying their membership fees, developing projects, organising or participating in meetings.

For full details on the EBU Solidarity Fund and how to apply for assistance contact the EBU office