[Osmf-talk] Moving the OSMF to the EU?

Graeme Fitzpatrick graemefitz1 at gmail.com
Thu Jul 1 01:31:42 UTC 2021

I've come very late to this discussion, so apologies for asking what may (&
probably is!) a very stupid question.

Is the EU the only place that OSMF could move to?

If so, why?

When I went back through some earlier comments, I noticed one that
suggested Canada.

I could say the same thing - how about Australia? We speak English & all
laws / contracts are written in English, you can receive charitable
donations, our Association structure is reasonably similar to the English.
We've just gone through the process of setting up an Oceania Chapter, so
I'm assuming that the question of International transactions has been
investigated & addressed with no major roadblocks?

I keep seeing comments (& complaints) on this & other topics that OSM /
OSMF is too Western Eu / UK / US centric - maybe help break that by moving
away completely! :-)



On Thu, 1 Jul 2021 at 03:42, Philippe Verdy <verdyp at gmail.com> wrote:

> I do agree. After all this is what all major international organizations
> are doing: e.g. Microsoft or Google with their subsidiary in Ireland
> without having their "directors" (of the main organization) to be in
> Ireland.
> An I really doubt that language support is an issue (even in France: look
> at Strasbourg for major institutions of the EU and of the Council of
> Europe; only companies located in France have to provide some essential
> info in French for French residents; and there are lot of exceptions for
> NGOs, like the Red Cross).
> Interesting places to look at are then where EU, CoE, or UN institutions
> are located: these places are multilingual with excellent support for
> English (but not only! And it would be very interesting to be in these
> places that support MORE languages for a larger part of the world,
> including outside Europe): Haaguen/La Haye (or Amsterdam for their large
> internet centers), Brussels/Bruxelles, Luxembourg, Strasbourg, Frankfurt,
> Geneva... and even Paris (seat of several EU and UN agencies as well). All
> these places have excellent/fast transportation with UK (notably Brussels
> and Paris, by plane or high speed train, and lot of transportation services
> wit hthe rest of the world, huge competition/low prices, high
> availability). All these places have very favorable conditions for NGOs
> (small like OSM, or large like the Red Cross), and lot of facilities
> to manage international financial transfers and assets.
> You should not use "English" as a limiting factor, after all once you have
> eliminated UK and Ireland, you'll find NO other country in the EU having
> universal support of English for everything and everyone. But places that
> are already highly multilingual and where legal documents written in
> English are recognized exists EVERYWHERE in the EU (and the EU itself makes
> lot of efforts to support these English documents as valid, without forcing
> them to be translated; judges are also treating lot of affairs in English,
> even if by law they will be forced to create a legal translation in their
> national official language(s). If you look at the two most important
> languages of EU, it has NEVER been English, but French (in FR, BE, AD, MC,
> LU, parts of ES, IT, and DE) and German (in DE, AT, CH), followed by
> Italian (in IT, part of DE, LI, and CH) or Dutch (in BL and BE).
> An international organisation like OSM whose goal is to support the world
> would not focus on using English exclusively for everything (and after all
> that's another reason why chapters were created, and they should have a
> larger role, all ofd them being able to offer services in English when it's
> really required). So making some efforts at OSM to be a bit more
> multilingual will be benificial (including for the rest of the world: think
> about Russia, China, India, South Africa, Israel, Arabic countries, South
> America supporting Spanish and Portuguese, or Indonesia: these are very
> populated areas of the world with lot of demand and activities for OSM).
> Note that the EU is a bit limitative territory, where as single market
> rules extend a bit more (at least to the EEA and Switzerland as well even
> if it's not part of EU and EEA, but partitipates in almost all activities
> and cooperates with lot of countries around the world, via UN agencies).
> For me the best candidate place is Brussels (and it is already multingual,
> having to support French, Dutch and German, plus all official languages of
> the EU for all works and lobbying with EU institutions).
> Le mer. 30 juin 2021 à 15:57, Lorenzo Losa <lorenzo.losa at email.it> a
> écrit :
>> On sab, 2021-06-19 at 19:10 +0200, Guillaume Rischard wrote:
>> > The OSMF board is considering relocating the OSMF to the EU. We
>> > haven’t taken our decision yet, and would like to first consult its
>> > membership for feedback, advice and whether we’ve missed anything.
>> A few years ago there was a search for a country for incorporating an
>> international organization in Wikimedia; the project failed, but you
>> can find the discussions here, in case there is something useful:
>> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Chapters_Association/Resolutions/2012_WCA_place_of_registration
>> >       •  Move the whole foundation? A hybrid approach – keeping the
>> > “main” OSMF in the UK and having a sister OSMF in the EU – might
>> > reduce the effort or even work better.
>> You could also work together with a chapter, if it makes sense. I can
>> say that the Italian chapter would be happy to help.
>> Lorenzo
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