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<title>About Free Software Foundation Europe - FSFE</title>
<meta content="More information about FSFE, including, principles, decision making and structure." name="description" />
<meta content="co-operation across cultures digital society freedom political interest democracy transparency pluralism consistency reliability focus self-conception principles decision making structure consensus compromise" />
<p id="category"><a href="/about/about.html">About</a></p>
<h1>About FSFE</h1>
<p>The people of the <a href="">Free Software
Foundation Europe</a> (FSFE), see ourselves as Europeans from
different cultures with the shared goal of co-operation across
cultures and of developing a common culture of co-operation from a
regional to a global level.</p>
<p>We form a non-profit non-governmental organisation and network that
itself is part of a global network of people with common goals and
visions. We are not representative for anyone but ourselves and our
work. Our common work and dedication to freedom in all aspects of
digital society is what defines us.</p>
<p>With the Free Software community growing faster every day, it
becomes more important to keep the vision of Free Software healthy,
solid and alive. In some cases, increased political interest in our
issues also creates desire to exploit them for particular personal
interests regardless of the medium- and long-term effects.</p>
<p>Therefore, the central component of our work is keeping the legal,
political and social base of Free Software strong, secure and free of
particular interests. This requires deep understanding of Free
Software and related issues. Above all it requires being primarily
committed to the long-term vision.</p>
<p>We understand this sometimes means having to accept short-term or
even medium-term disadvantages in order to remain true to our
principles, which may be hard to communicate and occasionally even
<p>We feel strongly committed to the principles of democracy,
transparency, pluralism, consistency, reliability and focus.</p>
<p>In the light of substantial legal responsibilities and the need to
remain decisive even in difficult times, our structure aims to
implement the above principles as well as possible.</p>
<h3>Structural Overview</h3>
<p>Voluntary work and contribution
is the fundamental on which everything rests. Different levels of
involvement exist; level of involvement is primarily a personal
<p>Everyone is welcome to occasionally, regularly or permanently
participate in the activities of the Free Software Foundation Europe
(FSFE) and make its activities their own.</p>
<p>If you wish to become part of the Free Software Foundation Europe, you
can join one of our teams -- either geographically or by focus --
and take responsibility to work and act in the name of the FSFE. </p>
<p>The country-based teams are generally co-ordinated by the members
of the association (see below) responsible for these countries. The
other teams are either co-ordinated by members of the association,
members of the teams or members of an associated organisation (see
<p>If you wish to become part of the Free Software Foundation Europe,
but do not have the time to do work, you might also choose to <a
href="/donate/donate.html">make a donation to FSFE</a> or become a <a
href="">fellow</a> of the FSFE.
<p>If your association pursues similar goals to those of the Free
Software Foundation Europe and wishes to establish formal
co-operation, it can become an <a href="/associates/">associate
organisation</a> of the FSFE, thus becoming part of the FSFE
<p>The skeleton of the Free Software Foundation Europe is the formal
and legally established <a href="/about/legal/">association</a> with
its chapters in the member countries. Membership in this association
requires the highest commitment, measured in years of dedication and
the responsibility to put long-term consensus over personal
<p>The FSFE association is fundamentally democratic. All parts of the
FSFE -- members of the association, members of the teams, as well as
<a href="">fellows</a> and members of associate
organisations -- are welcome to actively participate in the decision
making process.</p>
<p>Members of the association are usually proposed by members of the
teams and the associate organisations from their countries. They are
then approved by the general assembly of the FSFE association.</p>
<p>Although voluntary contributions in terms of work and resources are
the grounds of our work, we recognise that some of these tasks cannot
be undertaken as part-time activities and therefore require full-time
<p>Normal employees of the Free Software Foundation Europe are part of
the executive only and do not become part of the general decision
finding processes.</p>
<p>Any decision about employment/payment must ultimately be agreed upon
by the general assembly of the members of the association.</p>
<p>The main criterion for these decisions are the needs of the Free
Software Foundation Europe in terms of successfully pursuing its
goals. Whenever possible, we try to hire a person for each job that
has already done the job without getting paid -- either within the
FSFE structures or outside -- because knowledge, dedication and
initiative are virtues of the FSFE.</p>
<p>Ideally we will allow someone to dedicate themselves fully to a task
that was already important enough to them to contribute much of their
available resources.</p>
<h3>Decision Processes</h3>
<p>The people of the Free Software Foundation Europe believe in
consensus. We always seek to base our work on the consensus -- and
sometimes compromise -- of our active members.</p>
<p>Also, we believe it is occasionally necessary to make quick and
decisive actions. For this reason we have established the FSFE
association and its extended executive committees at European and
national levels. These provide fall-back structures and procedures
that are determined, monitored and controlled through democratic
<p>This approach was adopted in search of a structure that will allow
transparency, pluralism and participation, at the same time remaining
as lightweight as possible.</p>
<p>It ensures the possibility of participation by all parts of FSFE.
Members of the association, members of the teams and members of
associate organisations can all participate. This allows the Free
Software Foundation Europe to act quickly when necessary and maintain
a strong organisational long-term consistency.</p>
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