The European Circus Association (ECA) is a non-profit organization established in 2002 to unite Europe’s circuses and promote and preserve circus arts and culture as part of Europe’s cultural heritage. The ECA represents more than 130 circuses, festivals, animal trainers and artists in 29 countries, including nearly all renowned European circuses and associated members worldwide. The work of the ECA is funded by member fees and additional donations.
The ECA protects its members’ interests through monitoring and outreach in Brussels and the Member States in support of appropriate and workable laws and regulations in the fields:
- Cultural recognition: As a result of ECA’s work, the European Parliament adopted in 2005 a resolution acknowledging that the circus is part of European culture. Today the ECA is working to support recognition of circus as culture in the Member States.
- Travelling children’s education: Children living with their families in travelling circuses must have access to schools and appropriate distance learning programmes.
- Animal welfare: ECA works to ensure high quality health and welfare standards for animals presented in circuses and promotes governmental regulation. For this purpose, the ECA has developed a model regulation for the training and keeping of animals.
- EU regulations and technical standards: ECA works with authorities in Brussels to identify solutions to facilitate the travelling of circuses throughout Europe and the timely issuance of visa and work permits for its artists and staff. This includes work on tax issues, social security and other regulations. As a special topic, ECA is working to promote harmonized regulations for temporary structures such as circus tents throughout the European Union.
In all its activities the ECA enjoys close collaboration and cooperation with other professional organizations representing the same interests:
- Fédération Mondiale du Cirque under the patronage of Princess Stephanie of Monte Carlo
- European Showmen’s Union (ESU)
- European Network for Traveller Education (ENTE)
- Performing Arts Employers Associations League Europe (PEARLE)
- Berufsverband der Tierlehrer e.V., Germany