It would be lovely to have an EU-recognised system, that gives non-profit status Europe-wide to associations. Right now, that is not the case. This is exactly one of the first questions that comes up in our Rare!Together project, to wit, where to register our European association.
- Is there a “best” country to set up the cross-European organisation?
- And why is that one country the best, especially in legal terms?
- Could the host country simply be any country with a good strong national organisation?
- To date, the answer is, either in Brussels, for the address, for the easier connection to EU organisms, and for central location. But all this is non-technical, ie, the EU does not recognise any group better because they are in Brussels, and as long as they can somehow show that they have members in half + 1 of member countries and can be considered “representative” of some certain population.
- Or the other answer (the one that many groups use) is to locate in one country where there is a strong local group that can do the majority of work that needs to be done by the European group, with some exeptions, as the UK, where the regulations require a majority of the board to be UK residents.
- The third option right now is a hybrid whereby the official registration is in Belgium (registration there is maximum 1750 euros) for address and easy reconnoitering ability with Europe (even if the Belgian group is not particularly strong) and the Secretariat (where the European association’s work gets done) happens where the workers are, Germany, or UK or wherever. This may be a little complicated when annual accounts have to be done and things translated for the Belgian authorities, but is an option for some.
THINGS TO REMEMBER
To remember from our European experiences.
- Where to register? What to consider?
- Difficulties and possibilities to follow-up administration
- Tax on income
- Tax reduction for donations
- Look for strong local association(s) who can back and support the European Federation
- For registration and follow-up bylaws
- Help with administration and facilities
- If strong/leading people leave the federation, the work can still go on