The British Motorcyclists Federation has less influence in Brussels after failing to pay its members’ levy to the group representing riders to European Parliament.
The BMF, which claims to be the UK’s largest motorcycle organisation, no longer has a vote on policies of the Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations after falling into arrears with payments.
FEMA is the central body which represents national rider groups across Europe. Its website says its job is ‘carrying the riders’ voice to’ the European Commission and Parliament.
To retain their vote, national rider groups pay FEMA around €1 for each of their individual members per year. Without it they lose their say on FEMA's priorities.
The BMF’s Government Relations Executive, Chris Hodder, said: “The last couple of years in particular have been tough for the BMF and we have not been able to pay the full amount of what is quite a substantial annual bill to FEMA, representing thousands of Euros and one of the largest bills that the BMF has to pay. As a consequence, the rules of the organisation state that, although a member in arrears can still speak at meetings and help make policy, they are not able to vote.”
Ian Mutch, President of rival UK organisation the Motorcycle Action Group, said: “Quite a few of the national groups from across Europe are in a similar position. FEMA doesn’t want to have fewer groups to represent, so it keeps them on as members but they don’t have any voting rights.
“We got a bit fed up with the BMF because they tend to keep on saying ‘BMF members are represented via FEMA’ and they’re not paying their bill.”
FEMA’s General Secretary, Aline Delhaye, said: “By not being able to pay the fee they have lost their right of vote. When that of happens, of course to some extent they lose influence.”
FEMA’s President, Gerard Livett, said the BMF still contributed to meetings and discussions.
But he said it was voting that decided 'FEMA priorities and actions'.
'Therefore, if an organisation has strong views that an item should or should not be a priority but they do not have the vote then they would have no say in that matter,' he added.
Mutch said MAG was planning a series of parties to celebrate its 40th anniversary next year and would offer to pay the BMF’s bill if the events raised enough cash.
Find details at www.mag-uk.org.