Foreign service officers are typically transferred internationally every few years throughout their careers. As a result, foreign service families not only have unique opportunities and experiences; they also face unique challenges and difficulties. These include spouses and partners often being unable to work abroad, resulting in significant gaps in their earnings, pension contributions, and job histories that reduce their future employability; and children having to change schools (and often curricula and language of instruction) every few years, to name just a few examples.
Research on expatriate employment has shown that spouses, partners, and families play a critical role in the success and effectiveness of expatriates and their assignments. Family-friendly policies are therefore essential for families to be adequately supported, and for Ministries of Foreign Affairs (MFAs) to be able to recruit high-quality candidates, transfer them as needed, and retain them longer-term.
The European Union Foreign Affairs Spouses, Partners and Families Association (“EUFASA AISBL”, also referred to here as “EUFASA” for improved readability) is a membership organization of foreign service partners’ and families’ associations from the EU and EFTA countries, Switzerland, the UK and the EEAS.
EUFASA fosters the exchange of information and best practices among its members in order to address the specific needs of foreign service families. It aims to develop strategic partnerships with the MFAs in Europe and the EU to formulate and implement laws, regulations, and policies to support foreign service families.
EUFASA is an International Non-profit Association (Association Internationale Sans But Lucratif or AISBL) under Belgian law, in accordance with the Belgian Code of Companies and Associations of 23 March 2019.
EUFASA’s roots go back to a suggestion by a diplomat’s wife to hold a meeting of foreign service spouses’ associations within the European Community. The Italian Spouses Association ACDMAE then organized a symposium in Rome in 1985 during the Italian Presidency of the EEC. A conference has been held every year since then, usually in the European capital which currently holds the European Union presidency.
EUFASA’s areas of concern and activity include the following:
Additional issues and concerns may be taken up as needs are identified.
Each member association tasks its president and a delegate to work within EUFASA AISBL. Several working groups within EUFASA collaborate on projects or research on issues that are important to EUFASA member associations and their member families. Information and results are shared among the member associations and also with Ministries of Foreign Affairs. EUFASA members meet at an annual conference each spring which is typically hosted by the association of the country holding the EU Presidency at that time.
The current members of EUFASA are the spouses’ / partners’ associations of the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Estonia, EEAS/EU, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Former EUFASA delegates are invited to join this group. To do so please send request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A diplomat’s wife initiated the idea of a meeting amongst the different European Community MFAs’ Spouses Associations. In 1985, the Italian Spouses Association (ACDMAE) organized a symposium in Rome, during the Italian Presidency of the EEC. Since then, a conference has been held every year in a different European capital.