What is the procedure for obtaining recognition from the OSA for a Swiss society abroad?
The Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) is a private foundation. It aims to encourage ties between the Swiss Abroad themselves as well as with Switzerland, to represent their interests in Switzerland and to provide them with a wide range of services (information, legal advice, offers for young people, etc.).
The OSA is supported by its recognised Swiss societies abroad. To obtain recognition from the OSA, a Swiss society must meet all the following requirements:
- The purpose of the society is to encourage ties between the Swiss Abroad themselves as well as with their homeland.
- Over 50 % of the active members are Swiss citizens.
- The majority of the board members are Swiss citizens.
- The steering committee is led by a Swiss citizen.
- At least seven Swiss citizens must belong to the society.
- The society convenes a members’ meeting at least once a year and has an executive board that is re-elected periodically.
- The society is affiliated to the umbrella organisation responsible for its country if one exists (France, Germany, Italy, UK, Spain-Portugal, Austria-Liechtenstein-Slovenia, Netherlands, Canada, Argentina).
- The society expressly undertakes to notify the OSA if any one of the requirements is no longer met.
The societies recognised by the OSA can take part in the election of delegates to the Council of the Swiss Abroad (CSA). The CSA is made up of representatives of the Swiss communities abroad as well as members from Switzerland (for example, federal MPs representing the institutions associated with the Swiss Abroad). It meets twice a year to discuss matters affecting the Swiss Abroad. The Council of the Swiss Abroad is called the “Parliament of the Fifth Switzerland” in the media. The Swiss societies recognised by the OSA therefore make a direct contribution to policy on the Swiss Abroad.
Societies which do not meet all the requirements set out above may be recognised as associate societies. They cannot take part in the election of their country’s delegates to the CSA but otherwise have the same rights and obligations as the societies fully recognised by the OSA.
Recognition by the OSA means that the societies become part of the global network of societies and institutions of the Swiss Abroad. They automatically receive communications and newsletters from the OSA and are listed on the www.swisscommunity.org website, the social platform of the Swiss Abroad. They also lend the OSA – and therefore the Swiss Abroad, too – more weight in representing the interests of the Swiss Abroad.
Societies interested in obtaining OSA recognition can complete the application form. This can be found on the OSA’s website: www.aso.ch > About ourselves > Swiss Societies abroad > Recognition of a Swiss society by OSA.