The Confederation of Europen Business was founded as UNICE (Union of Industrial and Employer´s Confederations of Europe) in 1958 and considers itself to be the "voice" and representative of all business interests in Europe, irrespective of size and sector. As a European umbrella organisation, BUSINESSEUROPE represents the interests of its 41 member associations, federations and confederations (from 35 European countries) at the institutions of the European Union.
The Federation of Austrian Industries became the only official Austrian member at UNICE as early as 1986, nine years before Austrian EU-accession. The Federation of Austrian Industries contributes directly to BUSINESSEUROPE positions through its representation in all of the expert committees and working groups. The Federation's Brussels office director acts as Austria´s permanent delegate to BUSINESSEUROPE. Co-ordination meetings of all the Brussels-based BUSINESSEUROPE delegates take place twice a month.
BUSINESSEUROPE functions primarily in three areas:
BUSINESSEUROPE's primary decision-making body is its council of presidents (biannual meetings of all members' presidents), supported by an executive committee (triannual meetings of members' directors and secretaries general). The work programme is implemented by 7 political committees and 60 expert committees and working groups. Some 1200 policy experts are involved on a daily basis across the whole of Europe.