New President for the European Motorcyclists' Fed

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Eamonn Townsend

New President for the European Motorcyclists' Fed

Postby Eamonn Townsend » Fri Feb 14, 2003 12:00 am

The Federation of European Motorcyclists' Associations (FEMA) has a new President, who was elected at the FEMA Annual Meeting in Brussels on Saturday 8th February 2003. A unanimous vote for Kees Meijer of FEMA Dutch member organisation, the "Motorrijders Actie Groep". Kees replaces Erwin Renette who successfully held the Presidency of the Federation for seven years.

Kees Meijer, 37 years old, has been campaigning for riders' rights in the Netherlands for years. In 1997 he joined the editorial staff of the Dutch Motorcycle Action Group (MAG NL). His efficient work was quickly noticed and, in 1999, Kees was asked to run for the presidency of MAG NL and he was duly elected.

When asked to name a highlight in his work for MAG NL Kees replied: "Without a doubt the highlight must have been the national demonstration we organised two years ago to fight the Dutch government's plans to introduce electronic road pricing. After months of talking with politicians, the government still insisted that motorcycles would have to be fitted with an electronic device to pay a congestion charge. I headed a team of excellent volunteers and together we worked hard to organise the demonstration. We planned routes from all parts of the country so that riders could join us in our ride to The Hague. On the day of course I could do nothing but wait if anyone would turn upů Can you imagine how I felt when it was time for me to deliver my speech and I was greeted by 25,000 riders? It was great! And by the way: the Dutch government has decided to put their plans for electronic road pricing on ice."

During his MAG NL presidency, Kees started to get more and more interested in the 'bigger picture': "European legislation has a big impact on the way we can ride our bikes and in my work for MAG, I found that we were increasingly confronted with issues at a national level that had already been decided in Brussels. So I started spending more time talking to Members of the European Parliament (MEP) and to the FEMA staff. This really sparked an interest in European politics."

In 2001 Kees decided to step down as President of MAG Netherlands and devote all his time to European motorcycle issues as FEMA liaison for his organisation. Even more visits to Brussels and the European Parliament were made and Dutch MEP's became very familiar with the riders' rights lobby.

When FEMA president Erwin Renette decided not to run for another term, Kees thought long and hard, and finally decided to present his candidacy. At the FEMA Annual Meeting in Brussels on saturday 8th february 2003, Kees Meijer was unanimously elected as President of FEMA by the representatives of the 22 European riders' rights organisations that are members of FEMA.

Erwin Renette, who was President of FEMA for seven years, commented on his departure: "I have been working for FEM/FEMA for many years. I can remember the 'chaos' and level of improvisation of the early days very well. I am very glad FEMA did evolve into a serious, professional working organisation. FEMA is always in the frontline of the political fights for motorcyclists rights. And that's where it should be. The latest years have seen the scope of the fight enlarged to the global plan. It is now absolutely necessary to work at the United Nations' level and that is where FEMA is too, thanks to our dedication and the support of global partners like the American motorcyclists' organisations. I am glad to say that I was a part in making this happen.
It was an honour and a pleasure working with the dedicated office staff and the very motivated delegates. I only wish there would be more general support from the motorcycling community for our working general (both on EU and national level).
I am convinced that FEMA will continue to provide quality work overall. I am sure Kees will do an excellent job (he'd better!).
See you on the road. I am the one covered in grease."

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