EBU provides a European platform for its membership to share views, expertise and information.
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.
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 nine General Assemblies have taken place every three, and later every four years.
The last general assembly was hosted by the Royal National Institute of Blind people in London, UK, from 26-28 October 2015. Read the Minutes of the 10th EBU General Assembly (.doc)
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.
The implementation of the Board's strategic plan is entrusted to project groups led by EBU national members and is monitored by the Board.
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
The EBU Constitution is the governing instrument of EBU.
The key priorities and initiatives are articulated in the EBU Strategic Plan for the four year working period.
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.
At its meeting on 16/17 January, the EBU Board received the conclusions of the working party set up to finalise the strategic plan 2016-2019 based on feedback gathered at the 10th General Assembly.
The new EBU Board has now identified a number of priority projects to pursue in 2016 to support the delivery of the strategic plan. Note that some of the priority projects are marked REC to indicate that funding has been obtained under the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme of the European Commission.
Improving the lives of blind and partially sighted people
(REC) To collect good practice in the area of Braille teaching as well as evidence of the importance of Braille literacy.
Download the Project 1 planning document.
(REC) Producing a video as an awareness-raising tool for EBU members to support the implementation of the EBU minimum standards for low vision services in Europe.
Download the Project 2 planning document.
(REC) Producing a study of compensatory allowances currently available in Europe and their impact on quality of life.
Download the Project 3 planning document.
Producing a study on blind and partially sighted people's access to the job market, especially in the light of the fast-changing employment environment in Europe.
Download the Project 4 planning document.
Securing a strong EU directive on the accessibility of public sector websites.
Download the Project 5 planning document.
Working to get the EU and its Member States to ratify the Treaty by the end of 2016.
Download the Project 6 planning document.
Securing a strong Accessibility Act.
Download the Project 7 planning document.
Securing a UNECE Global Technical Regulation including a fit-for-purpose AVAS which cannot legally be turned off.
Download the Project 8 planning document.
Raising the awareness of relevant EU bodies and relief organizations on the specific needs of blind and partially sighted refugees, asylum seekers and economic migrants, and lobbying them to ensure they receive equal treatment with their sighted peers.
Download the Project 9 planning document.
To strengthen national organisations of blind and partially sighted people
(REC) Holding a Twitter masterclass to improve members' campaigning effectiveness.
Download the Project 10 planning document.
(REC) Holding new VISAL courses with the aim to promote blind and partially sighted seniors' engagement.
Download the Project 11 planning document.
On the financial front, 2016 was a good year for the European Blind Union, with a surplus of € 57,543. Membership fees as determined by the 2015 General Assembly added up to € 226,955, an increase of more than 20% compared to the Membership fees and voluntary contributions received in 2015. They represent 53% of our revenues.
Our projects received € 197,124 in funding from the European Union for 2016 i.e. 46% of our revenues.
On the expenditure side, the Provisional Budget (whose presentation was revised to match reality) has been strictly respected. Since November 2015, the Treasurer has been sending the Board a monthly summary of the revenues, expenditures and financial situation, which allows a better follow-up. The expenditure amounted to €411,347, down from the 2015 financial year (which included the expenses related to the organization of the General Assembly and a few adjustments linked to previous years).
Salaries and employee benefits amounted to € 244,035, i.e. 57% of the expenditures, which was stable compared to the previous year. In 2016, the rules for taking into account seniority in the calculation of EBU employees’ salaries was revised, which will lead to a slight increase in 2017.
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