We are the UK branch of the International Association of Former EU Staff, known as AIACE from its original name in French.
AIACE was set up in the 1980s to meet the needs of pensioners from institutions that had been founded 20 years before. There are now more than 20,000 pensioners, most of whom live in the EU. About half are members of AIACE. To serve them, AIACE now has 15 national branches and a small international secretariat in Brussels.
The aims of the Association are to:
- REPRESENT the interests of pensioners to the EU institutions;
- SUPPORT pensioners in their dealings with the institutions over such matters as the official health insurance scheme;
- INFORM members about issues that concern them; and
- ORGANISE events that allow those who have worked for the EU, usually abroad, to meet others who have had similar experiences.
The Association has agreements with almost all EU institutions and bodies (the only exception now is the most recently created one - the European External Action Service) allowing it to represent former employees who ask for its support in dealings on pensions, rights and the medical insurance scheme. The service is available to all former employees, whether or not they are Association members. This is because it is difficult for administrations based in Brussels, Luxembourg or Italy to visit those who live in far-flung parts of the European Union, while AIACE members also know the local context of those who live in their country.
The Association is run by an Executive Board made up of representatives of all national branches. It holds an AGM open to all members, usually as part of a visit to a pleasant venue in the EU – thus providing a mixture of business and tourism for people who have shared a similar career.
The UK branch was set up in 1985 and has its own constitution under UK law, which reflects the Association's basic rules. It now has more than 700 members. The branch is run by a committee elected at its Annual General Meeting every spring. Essential support work is done by a team of volunteers (some on the committee, some not) who deal with mail, messages and requests for information as quickly as possible. In addition to the AGM, the branch holds a second general meeting in the autumn. Distinguished speakers are invited to address our meetings. These meetings also provide an opportunity to discuss important issues, exchange information and maintain contact with colleagues from working days. Most UK branch meetings take place in London, though every other year the AGM is held in one of the regions.
In addition, the branch now has nine regional groups (and an informal network in Northern Ireland), which organise social events of their own. More information is available under the Groups tab above.
The branch newsletter, "Connect", is sent to members several times per year. Occasional bulletins are also sent by email and post.
Membership of the Association is open to any retired EU staff member or surviving spouse, who should apply to one of the national branches. This is usually the branch for the country in which the applicant lives. Most of those who joined through the UK branch live in the UK.
Branches fix their own subscriptions but pay the same amount per member to the central secretariat (at present, €18). The UK branch annual subscription is currently £22 a year. We don’t charge for the first year if you join after 31 October.
To join, please send an application form to AIACE (Subs) at Europe House, 32 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3EU.