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About Associate Organisation Status
Any organisation working in Free Software or a related field can become an associate organisation of the FSFE. Normally these organisations will be from Europe, but that is not strictly necessary. Any organisation in the world that feels close or attached to the European spirit could apply.
Although we try to find at least one organisation to work with closely in every European country, there is no exclusivity. So there can easily be more than one associated organisation per country. Also associated organisations of the FSFE can still ally themselves with other organisations.
Of course it would seem odd if an organisation associated with the FSFE formally allied with an organisation opposing the goals of the FSFE. There is nothing to prevent it from happening, but in that case it would seem likely that the FSFE would dissolve the association after discussion with that associate.
There are no prerequisites regarding statutes, membership structures, finances or such. Associate organisations are entirely independent and autonomous.
It does not seem useful to associate with an organisation that does not share the spirit of freedom and philosophy, however. So what the FSFE generally wants to see in an organisation that wishes to associate with it is a dedication to Free Software and its deeper implications.
That also includes the wish to educate people and build awareness for the fundamental issues around freedom in a digital society.
As the effectiveness of this is at least partially based upon using the best and most precise terminology available, we also wish our associates to (just like us) avoid terms that tend to create confusion and spread misinformation.
Yes, this does include referring to the GNU/Linux system as "GNU/Linux" (see "Why GNU/Linux?" for reference) and using Free Software or the adequate term in the local language, avoiding the misleading "Open Source" terminology (see "We speak about Free Software" for reference).
How to become an associate organisation
Given that the majority of members in your organisation feels close to the philosophy, issues and work of the FSFE and wishes to cooperate more closely as an associate organisation, how do you proceed?
The basic process is very simple. You need to make a formal decision within your organisation about applying for associate status. This will most likely involve a general assembly for democratic organisations.
Then the representative of your organisation should write mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, informing us about your application for associate status.
If we do not know you yet, or feel there is some question that we don't know the answer to regarding your organisation, we may ask you a few questions before having an internal discussion about your application.
If the FSFE accepts the application, you will receive mail by the president or vice-president of the FSFE, making you an official associate.
Then we will possibly create/connect communication channels (if it seems useful) to improve communication between us. Also we will give you access to the FSFE web site (if you don't have it already) and create your associate web area at /associates/<yourorg>/ where you can put information about/from your organisation for visitors of the FSFE web site.
The rest we make up as we go along.
If you still have questions about this, please send mail to email@example.com