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President’s new year’s address

We have just started a new year and that means it is time for the annual new year’s address by FEMA President Anna Zee. And this one is special because it is her last one…

So it’s that time again – time to wish everyone a Happy New Year. 2023 has been an eventful year as you will have seen from the Review of the Year. What will 2024 bring?

FEMA President Anna Zee (photo by Wim Taal).

There have been some big changes in FEMA in 2023. Financial constraints on some of our members have resulted in a considerable reduction in FEMA’s income. Dolf Willigers, the face of FEMA’s lobbying for so long, has retired, leaving Wim Taal to take on the General Secretary’s role as FEMA cannot afford to employ a second member of staff at this time.

I have every confidence that he will keep the lobbying show on the road to great effect. FEMA’s member organisations and especially Board members may be required to provide more active support than has been the case in recent years. Everyone in FEMA will need to work together to ensure FEMA’s future and I feel sure you will rise to the occasion and do so. 2024 will require some serious thought about how FEMA works, about the membership and how to sustain the finances.

This is the last occasion I have for addressing you at the beginning of a new year as I am standing down as President at FEMA’s Annual General Meeting, the AGM, in February. It has been an honour to serve as President for, is it really eight?, years. It is to my considerable regret that my own national organisation, again due to financial priorities, is withdrawing from FEMA, at least for the time being. The plan is to contribute something to FEMA’s coffers anyway, though at a lower level; while I am sorry I will not be in a position to contribute to the necessary discussions in 2024, no-one is indispensable and I expect you to do very well without me.

‘Everyone in FEMA will need to work together to ensure FEMA’s future.’

Thank you to all the members of the Board who have worked with me over the last eight years and thank you to the FEMA staff who have represented riders interests so well in Europe during this time. My best wishes for 2024 and beyond go to all of you; to Wim Taal, to the new President and other members of the Board who are keeping/taking up their positions in February, and to the whole FEMA community. You are all stars, it has been a privilege to get to know you, and I don’t intend to lose touch completely.

Happy 2024, keep it shiny side up!

Anna Zee,