EU Affairs Freelancers Association
Euro Freelancers, a collaborative network of independent EU affairs consultants and investors, launched the EU Affairs Freelancers Association (EAFA) on 14 January 2013 at a high level event in the European Parliament.
The launch of the EU Affairs Freelancers Association followed an invitation from the European Commission to discuss the importance of tackling the important growth of the Freelance Economy in Europe.
The EU Affairs Freelancers Association works through targeted research and advocacy at EU level. Its aim is to promote the value of self employment to the European policy makers and ensure that independent working is better recognised all over Europe.
The EU Affairs Freelancers Association is the first multi-stakeholder European network to raise a united voice around the Freelance Economy. We are a non-profit partnership made of:
- National organisations representing independent professionals working on European affairs and cross border European projects
- End user clients that utilise independent EU affairs professionals and European project managers
- Public authorities willing to explore how the procurement system could be opened up to freelancers
The increasing demand for skilled professionals in the EU affairs sector together with the shortage of highly qualified personnel led to the exponential emergence of a large number of independent workers and end user clients. Nearly one out of four Europeans is working independently and this is set to increase in the next years. Freelancers are the economic backbone of an expanding flexible workforce satisfying both EU regulators and private industry labour requirements. Interests representation and advocacy are now required to serve the needs of this pool of new freelancers and end user clients. This will stimulate the EU Freelance Economy, energise the market, leading to a new age of work, where individuals, industry and regulators cherish a flexible labour model.
According to general knowledge, an independent worker is a natural person that provides goods or services to another entity under terms specified in a contract. An independent contractor does not work regularly for an employer but works where and when required. They are self employed and connect with their clients on a business to business basis. They are occasionally referred to as freelancers, contractors, independent consultants or micro-entrepreneurs. Independent professionals work across a wide span of sectors, delivering flexible, knowledge intensive services to clients.
Each day, more professionals in Europe are opting for an independent consulting career and start a business of one related to EU affairs. On the other hand, to maintain competitiveness, organisations involved in EU affairs are trying to build a flexible workforce of skilled, independent talent. The EU Affairs Freelancers Association exists to make a bond between these two groups. Our mission is to bring together independent EU affairs professionals, their end user clients and public authorities in a common marketplace to ensure the transfer of services is carried out with mutual benefit.
With a focus on readily available scalable solutions and best practice examples, the Association strives to mature policies, markets and sectors in Europe for the Freelance Economy to become mainstream. Our message is simple: we want policy framework conditions and enabling infrastructures for the Freelance Economy to prosper in Europe now!
We are convinced that flexibility in the labour market is essential to EU economic resurgence. The EU Affairs Freelancers Association intends to promote freelancing as described above and create a thriving EU affairs independent professional community with a unified and influential voice in the EU institutions and industry.
The EU Affairs Freelancers Association main purpose is to shape a critical mass that speaks with a single voice, making the case for European policies that place a greater emphasis on freelancing, as the driving force behind a more prosperous, sustainable and competitive European economy. The Association will explore synergies with EU policies and programmes and how EU decision makers and other stakeholders can work together to lay the necessary framework conditions for the Freelance Economy to be a success for Member States, businesses, consumers and local communities in the EU.
It is critical to get European public sector engagement to ensure an appropriate “enabling environment” for the Freelance Economy to grow. The EU Affairs Freelancers Association aims to inspire decision makers by providing them with a tangible narrative, available scalable solutions and an innovative vision for faster adoption of the Freelance Economy in Europe.
The EU Affairs Freelancers Association objective is to demonstrate the value of EU affairs freelancing to European policy makers and other stakeholders and ensure freelancing is both considered and protected in all areas of EU regulations. We do this by supporting extensive research about EU affairs freelancing and by maintaining strong relationships with the EU Commission, Parliament and Council. Among the business community, we engage with major industry associations and companies and promote the way freelancers can help businesses grow.
“The launch of the EU Affairs Freelancers Association is very timing. The information I gathered at the launch event are vital for staying current with freelancing trends, upgrading expertise and understanding business ethics in the sector. I feel my membership to EAFA is set to pay off. It seems I am surrounded by likeminded colleagues, despite working on my own.”
– Participant, EU Affairs Freelancers Association Launch Event in the European Parliament
We believe that independent professionals are often overlooked by EU law makers, with regulations often drafted for the purpose of employees and employers or SMEs and entrepreneurs. By showing the value of freelancing to the economy and supplying our views to the law makers, we strive for a European business environment more beneficial to the independent way of working.
The EU Affairs Freelancers Association has four specific objectives:
- Awareness: campaign to improve the perception of freelancing and visibility of independent EU affairs professionals and their end user clients all over Europe.
- Lobbying: increase advocacy strength for fair and sensible regulations, ensuring that freelancing becomes a political priority at European level.
- Scale Up: promote leadership and best practice exchange, research and data of importance to independent EU affairs professionals and support the continuous professional development of freelancers by considering their specific training needs.
- Finance: raise EU funding to kick start relevant pilot projects and platforms all over Europe that enlighten the value of freelancing to the economy and society and assist entry in the freelancing market for both independent EU affairs professionals and end user clients.
EU Interests Representation
Independent professionals in Europe are affected by EU legislation on a daily basis. As micro-business, it is critical for freelancers that regulations affecting them are simple, understandable and not excessively onerous. A significant part of all legislation regarding independent professionals is originating from the EU. By the time Member States deal with the various policies, the majority has already been enacted and national governments only have to implement them without being able to shape content. To influence new regulations in the substance and ensure they will not be detrimental to independent professionals, it is key to get involved at early stage of policy development within the EU institutions.
The EU Affairs Freelancers Association helps businesses and governments in Europe to understand and harness the potential of the Freelance Economy through regulatory advocacy and strategic advisory services. The association is based on the assumption that it can achieve more widespread reach within the EU and accomplish its objectives beyond the scope of any single freelancing organisation active in the Member States. The needed transformation of the EU economy will not take place until a strong alliance of private, public and civil society players begins to work together. The narrative of the Freelance Economy is typically framed as a bottom-up, grassroots action. All of the proliferating freelancing organisations in Europe are focused on a small piece of a much larger puzzle and considerable change will never come from a disconnected group. However, if these organisations join forces to share a compelling agenda, an inspiring long-term vision and coordinate their EU policy actions, they could pave the way for the top-down regulatory improvement needed to scale-up the Freelance Economy.
Our public affairs activities strive to position our members as influential interlocutors and be included in the official dialogues with the EU institutions. These activities range from feeding regulators with expert advice during consultation procedures to meetings with them at different stages of policymaking development. We ultimately aim to identify threats and opportunities and remove obstacles to the wealth brought by independent EU affairs professionals.
In addition, the EU Affairs Freelancers Association maintains regular contact with European media to profile its work on all issues affecting the EU affairs freelance environment.
We are active in the following public affairs areas:
- Representing the interests of our members towards political institutions at EU and national level;
- Reporting to our members on the latest regulatory developments and forecasting/influencing future EU and global market developments affecting relevant freelance industry segments;
- Advising key EU policy-makers on the most adequate policies to create value for freelancers and their end user clients;
- Anticipating legislation having a potential impact on freelance sectors and mobilising our members via working groups to define clear positions on political, technical and economic issues.
Specifically and among others, we are assisting in the ongoing implementation of the following EU policy initiatives: Directive on the Recognition of Professional Qualifications, the Small Business Act for Europe, the EU 2020 Strategy for Growth and Jobs, the Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan, the EU Qualifications Framework and the Services in the Internal Market Directive.
The EU Affairs Freelancers Association aims to undertake concrete actions, which can be implemented in the short-term and have high local impact. Its activities build upon on-going EU programmes, priorities and best practice examples to be scaled-up.
The association, together with the members of Euro Freelancers, have excellent connections with Members of the European Parliament, Commission officials, trade unions and European business associations in Brussels. With them we examine policy and technical issues and advocate the interests of independent EU affairs professionals. Through a supply and demand of information, our primary goal is to gain insight on the policy process and inform the regulators on the potential impact on independent EU affairs professionals of the legislative proposals, striving for the most beneficial regulatory outcome to our members.
EAFA Position Papers
The association utilises position papers to highlight its members’ views on EU policies affecting different sectors and represent their interests quickly and effectively.
Our position papers outline the benefits and dangers of a legislative proposal to independent EU affairs professionals and articulates policy recommendations to the regulators. Position papers are constantly updated working documents and represent the foundation of further dialogue and deeper discussion with EU regulators on how to ensure certain policies address the needs of independent EU affairs professionals. These position papers are also the basis of ad hoc working groups that the EU Affairs Freelancers Association sets up with participation of its members to respond to EU Commission consultations, write petitions to the European Parliament, joint letters to Commissioners and the rotating Council Presidencies, submit policy recommendations, legislative amendments and take a seat in relevant EU platforms.
The EU Affairs Freelancers Association Alerts are a quarterly publication with up to date developments on all EU policy activities of relevance to independent EU affairs professionals and information about significant publications, studies, calls for tenders, consultations and events. It is distributed electronically to EU regulators and stakeholders and to the European freelancers community. They enable both the EU Affairs Freelancers Association and its members to easily assess where and when policy and other action is needed.
The EU Affairs Freelancers Association helps to get the vital role freelancers play recognised by commissioning extensive and accurate studies, market research, surveys and interviews into freelancing in Europe. We engage academics from all over Europe and we also conduct our own surveys and collect data into the freelance market. We then use the outcomes of these researches to promote the value of freelancing and put forward articulated proposals to EU policy makers. We pride ourselves of our evidence based approach to policy advocacy.
Multi-Stakeholder Alliance Building
The EU Affairs Freelancers Association members keep contact with a large network of organisations which share similar views, particularly on policy issues at EU level. By joining forces and creating alliances, we are able to strengthen its outreach and build up a more powerful voice for the benefits of independent EU affairs professionals. These alliances provide a forum for collective knowledge exchange and foster cooperation between freelance practitioners in different EU sectors and Member States to facilitate the transferability and scalability of best practice solutions.
The EU Affairs Freelancers Association aims to kick start pilot initiatives all over Europe, participate in relevant projects and explore EU funding opportunities for promoters of the Freelance Economy. By doing so, we will help the EU Commission to design and access for our members appropriate funding lines under the new EU financial framework program 2014-2020.
The EU Affairs Freelancers Association aspires to become the leading authority on independent working, to scale up the development of the European freelancer market and provide authoritative information to its members, the media and the public. The association is governed by its members and any member is eligible to stand for election to the Management Board, and from there, for election to become The EU Affairs Freelancers Association President. The association is composed by:
- The Management Board
The association operational and membership administration are handled by an executive management team. The Executive Director is heading the Management Board and is responsible for the organisation’s day to day activities.
- The General Assembly
All association members are meeting 2 times per year in the General Assembly whose function is to provide strategic input, highlight priorities and appoint the Management Board.
- The Advisory Council
The Advisory Council is a body elected each year from the wide association membership and from other influential stakeholders. Members of the Advisory Council inform the Management Board of topical issues and policy and market trends which may need to be put on the association agenda.
As an inclusive organisation consisting of representatives from across Europe, the EU Affairs Freelancers Association seeks to engage as members:
- National organisations representing Independent professionals working on European affairs and cross border European projects and
- End user clients that utilise Independent EU affairs professionals and European project managers
As future member, each participant (a) defines an individual voluntary commitment, (b) endorses the Association manifesto and (c) chooses from the yearly activity plan, the activities where it can contribute best.
General membership benefits include discounts on registration fees for our annual conference and other training and peer learning events. We also offer to our members regular and personalised updates regarding funding opportunities, communication on advocacy efforts, events of interest, first access to new publications and reports on the findings of our ongoing data collection.
The EU Affairs Freelancers Association serves as an excellent vehicle for organisations to minimise risks and maximise returns on independent contract talent. We are convinced every organisation must be allowed to use independent workers within the frame of the law and we believe every independent contractor must be allowed to develop successful practices serving their clients. Whether you are a professional organisation promoting self-employment in your Member State or a company leading the evolution of your workforce, we would be pleased to hear from you.
Membership benefits for national organisations include:
- Access to the latest insights, research & funding opportunities on EU policies
- Liaison with EU regulators
- Shared assignments & online toolboxes for European projects
- Financial services with EU relevance
- Advice on freelancing business practices all over Europe
- Agencies & clients lists at European level
- Guidance on taxes & accountancy services all over Europe
- The opportunity to shape the EU freelancer market
Membership benefits for end user clients utilising freelancers include:
- Access the latest insights, research and funding opportunities on EU policies
- Liaison with EU regulators
- Raise visibility by displaying your logo, profile, position papers and reports on our website and social media channels
- Share knowledge and practical experience across a wide range of sectors with other EAFA Members
- Build an online workforce, on-demand and on your own terms
- The facility to advertise your assignments
- Manage freelancer responses
- Access databases of freelancers
- eMarketing to freelancers portals
- The opportunity to shape the EU freelancer market
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