The move was announced at the Eumabois annual assembly hosted by Finland in Jyvaskyla.

Retiring president Franz-Joseph Buetfering, of German association VDMA, emphasised the importance of the presence for the first time in the federation’s history, Belgian firm Robland and Toskar from Turkey.

"With them we are embarking on a new, highly interesting period which, I am certain, will provide a strong stimulus to the growth of our federation," he said.

"In fact, we have decided, in cases where there is no national association for the sector, to accept other associations which can provide credibility and representation within their home countries. This has a double purpose: to gain access to first-hand information on individual countries, while also stimulating the creation of national associations within Europe."

The new Eumabois president is Ambrogio Delachi, president of Acimall, the Italian woodworking technology manufacturers’ association. Vice-president is Juergen Koeppel, of Homag Group, representing VDMA.

Other board members are: Zdenek Bezdek (SVDSZ, Czech Republic), Heikki Sonninen (Technology Industries of Finland), Erich Zeller (HBT, Switzerland), and treasurer Jean Paul Balz (HBT, Switzerland).

In his remarks Mr Delachi said Eumabois would be establishing relations with non-European manufacturers to work together toward the needs of users all over the world. "We believe it is essential to work on creating new relations placing all those involved in woodworking in a position to meet and openly discuss the possibility of working together on shared issues."