EBU provides a European platform for its membership to share views, expertise and information and to act together on matters of common interest.
The Annual Report looks in detail at the work carried out in the previous year.
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.
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 EBU 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.
Discussed and approved by the EBU Board at its meeting held on 12 February 2022 online, the Action Plan 2022 sets out actions to be conducted in 2022 to implement the Strategic Orientation Plan.
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.
The persistence of the Covid-19 pandemic throughout 2021 forced the European Blind Union to maintain the measures taken in the previous year to limit the spread of the virus, including remote working several days a week for our employees and almost all meetings held as online conferences. In spite of this, and thanks to the seriousness shown by all our employees and volunteers, the EBU was able to continue to operate satisfactorily, without any major impact on implementing the budget, which has actually continued to grow significantly.
Accordingly, expenditure amounted to €724,393, an increase of 29.70% compared with the previous year, while revenues were €736,266 (+18.48%). We therefore recorded a surplus of €11,873 (1.61% of revenues), pointing to a normal resumption of activities.
Since the EBU had agreed to develop a new project – PARVIS – over a two-year period, we hired an additional member of staff, rented an office and purchased computer equipment for her; including the fees paid to two partner associations, total expenditure was €117,000.
Our staff costs, including social security contributions, amounted to €361,088, slightly less than last year, as the change of Director in 2020 involved a significant level of expenditure. Note that 79.40% of our staff costs in 2021 were taken up by our various projects.
Our other expenditure was in line with the budget estimates adopted at the start of the financial year, and consisted primarily of:
-travel and conference costs of €58,305,
-audit costs, translations of various documents and publication of our communications materials of €46,470,
-costs incurred for the Pascal project of €39,081,
-rent and service charges for the Paris offices of €27,550,
-accountancy fees of €18,360,
-a grant from the Solidarity Fund of €7,962,
-support for the Louis Braille museum of €6,000,
-depreciation of €8,300.
All other expenses were less than €5,000.
We did not organise an exchange of best practices between our members in 2021, and the Japanese association Onkyo did not run its usual contest to promote Braille.
As in previous years, our revenues came from the funding we receive to run our various projects:
-€331,432 for the REC project (45% of the total),
-€120,282 for Parvis (16.33%),
-€38,142 for Pascal (5.20%).
The vast majority of our members paid their subscription, with the reductions granted in 2020 maintained principally because of the economic difficulties associated with the pandemic. We therefore received €238,750, representing 32.42% of our resources.
We received a contribution of €1,000 from the ONCE for the Louis Braille museum and a grant of €3,346 from the Fédération des Aveugles et Amblyopes de France to hold the first face-to-face meeting of the Board, which took place in Nice last October. We thank them both.
Conversely, we received no donations for the Solidarity Fund or the Development Fund to help people with a visual impairment, which is a pity, insofar as the second of these will be operating again from 2022.
Similarly, because of the pandemic and despite our complaints, the Crédit Coopératif did not pay any dividends on the warrants we hold, whereas we received €3,000 in 2020.
Our cash-flow situation is satisfactory and our revenues and expenditure are in line with our budget estimates, as evidenced by the monthly monitoring sent to each member of the Board. Once again, I would like to thank all those who work regularly to produce these documents.
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