During 2001, a group of like-minded balloon manufacturers collaborated to discuss the increasing number of health, safety and environmental issues facing the balloon industry. Questions regarding nitrosamines in balloons had previously been highlighted by Enrico Montaruli, following which the European Balloon Council (EBC) was formed as a result of his energy and enthusiasm to tackle such concerns.
Although the Council consisted of competing bodies, it quickly became apparent that these organizations shared many common objectives and that as a group, they were able to keep abreast of developments in their industry. Mark Brett went on to Chair the EBC for almost a decade in which the organization made its first steps to become the real voice of the Industry. Ernst Reiter, who was appointed Executive Director in 2011, has been pivotal in raising awareness of issues impacting the balloon industry, resulting in a degree of success that could not have been achieved without his expertise and dedication.
As a consequence there have been meetings in London, Brussels, Köln and Rome. The original qualification of EBC membership was that members must be European manufacturers, major distributors or subsidiaries (based in Europe) or non-European manufacturers of Latex or Mylar balloons, balloon accessories and balloon gas. However, in 2012 EBC expanded its membership to include party organizations. At this point, it became known as the European Balloon & Party Council (EBPC).
The primary objective of the EBPC is to assist members in understanding the broad range of safety issues and helping to change standards in the balloon and party industry. Key to the role of the EBPC is lobbying and managing PR both at EC level and to the public, and research trends to tackle industry misconceptions. The EBPC also has experts present at various levels within the EU commission to assist with improving the safety standards from technical level up.