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 ten General Assemblies have taken place every three, and later every four years.
The last general assembly was hosted by the the Italian Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted (UICI) in Rome, Italy, from 28-30 October 2019.
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.
Our financial performance in 2018 leads us to two contradictory conclusions and signals that we must be prudent as we look to the future:
If we look first at our main items of expenditure, we can see that:
- Salaries and social security contributions were €309,644 compared with €256,946 last year, i.e. an increase of €62,698. The figure in the budget forecast was €324,500, which included hiring a new employee, so our estimate was very close to our actual expenditure;
- The rent for our offices in Paris and accountancy fees were in line with our forecasts and remained within very reasonable limits: €30,520 compared with €30,465 in 2017;
- Our other external expenses totalled €127,523 compared with €112,838 in 2017, i.e.an increase of €14,684. Our forecast had been €144,590. The main increases can be explained by greater participation in congresses/conferences (€6,853 compared with €930) and a significant rise in travel costs (€59,627 compared with €23,778). We should remember, however, that a sizeable share of some of these expenses is covered by European funds which, as we will see below, are increasing significantly. A few expenses are decreasing, notably project-related, postal and phone costs.
- Our various projects (ONKYO for €13,822), subsidies (including a grant of €21,385 from the Solidarity Fund compared with just €4,000 in 2017) and depreciation totalled €48,797 compared with €34,612, an increase of €14,185;
- Our total expenditure was therefore €523,884, an increase of €85,423 compared with 2017 but €14,507 lower than the budget forecast.
As in previous years, our main sources of income were:
- The subsidy we are granted by the European Commission, which increased by 28%, from €197,958 to €253,354;
- Member subscriptions, which remained stable at €232,900;
- The ONKYO project for €22,728;
- €3,096 in interest received compared with €347 last year.
It is sad to see that contributions from our members to the Solidarity Fund have been steadily falling, from €10,000 in 2016, to €7,000 the year after and just €4,300 this year. The donations we received in 2018 totalled just €7,000, compared with €27,000 the previous year.
Our total income (estimated at €535,490 in the budget forecast) was €529,233 compared with €514,436, an increase of €14,797.
As indicated at the start of this document, our surplus was €5,349.
If we look at the main figures on the balance sheet, we see that at 31 December 2018:
- We had €621,825 in our various bank accounts;
- Our reserves were €166,826 in the Solidarity Fund, €22,741 in the African Solidarity Trust Fund and €438,447 in our own reserves, which is very satisfactory.
While we can be reasonably optimistic in the short and medium term, we must continue to exercise caution and in particular:
Remind our members that our activities in Europe concern the day-to-day lives of all blind and partially sighted people on the continent and that they rely on the active involvement and financial and moral support of everyone. I would like to end this report by warmly thanking each of our members for paying the subscription requested from them in 2018, which is greatly appreciated by your Treasurer.
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