HISTORY OF ABIE AND ABIE GERMANY
AUSTRALIAN BUSINESS IN EUROPE (ABIE) was founded in London in October 1975 to provide a forum for Australians working in Europe and for European business people associated with Australian industry and commerce. The founding members believed that there was a need for an organisation which would enable these people to meet regularly, to get to know each other and to discuss topics of mutual interest. ABIE has always been an apolitical organisation whose aspirations lie solely in providing the means for all interested in bilateral trade and investment between Europe and Australia to establish contact with similarly dedicated colleagues.
In 1988, having established a firm base in Britain, ABIE took the view that the time had come to add credibility to the words "in Europe" in its title. Accordingly gradual steps were taken to establish a presence in other European countries. A strong representation in Australia has also developed over time.
ABIE GERMANY was founded in 1995 thanks to the efforts of a small group of Australians in Frankfurt - Peter Dreher (a commercial lawyer), Bernd Neubauer (the Australian government's then Regional Investment Commissioner for Central and Northern Europe) and Elmar Wider (Executive Director of the Victorian State Government's Business Office for Europe), who were able to reach out to a large group of Australian professionals in Germany and Germans with business interests in Australia, who in turn became the first members of ABIE Germany. The first ever ABIE Germany function was sponsored by Austrade in 1995 and was held at the resident of the then Australian Consul General, showing support that continues today. From its origins, ABIE Germany maintained financial independence from the UK. It was formally registered as an association on 18 August 1997 on the basis of the first formal Articles of Association of 9 July 1997 following a series of successful events in 1996. The first elected Board of the registered association was made up of Bernd Neubauer, Alexander Vogt (a commercial and property lawyer at Oppenhoff & Radler as it then was) and Elmar Wider. Since this time there have been a number of Australians and Germans who have taken up positions on the ABIE Germany Board and dedicated their time and energy, on a voluntary basis, to build the association into the German-Australian Business Network.
ABIE currently has an international membership of about 1,500 professionals drawn from most Australian companies with business interests in Europe and from a wide range of European companies with reciprocal interests in Australia.