Over 30 years ago, European Jewish communities decided to merge their activities and unite their efforts.
The European Jewish Congress (EJC) was officially established as a new and independent structure in 1986. Previously, European Jewish issues were dealt with by the European branch of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), first based in London, before moving to Paris in 1980.
The EJC is today the regional affiliate of the WJC. As the sole political representative organisation of European Jewry, the EJC protects the interests of its affiliated communities, working daily with European Union institutions and officials, the Council of Europe (where the EJC has participatory status) and national governments and parliaments.
The EJC was created to give a unified voice to Jewish communities around Europe, representing their common interests and concerns, but at the same time allowing smaller Jewish communities a wider platform to express their specific needs.
The EJC acts as an intimate forum between communities, where ideas can be exchanged easily, and internal elections and referenda decide future leadership, projects and goals. Since its establishment, the EJC has developed and expanded in order to meet the constantly changing and enlarging European Union (EU).
With the collapse of the communist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe, and finally the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, the EJC enlarged the scope of its representation and activities to encompass those Jewish communities in the former Soviet Union.
Today, the wide political and geographical representation of the EJC matches that of the Council of Europe. Based in Brussels, the EJC federates and co-ordinates 42 national Jewish communities in Europe, encompassing approximately 2.5 million Jews.