NEWS! was established in 1994 during a European Worldshops conference organised by the Dutch national association to celebrate its 25th anniversary. This was the first cooperation between the Worldshops at European level; during previous meetings, Worldshop representatives did not go further than exchanging their experiences and ideas. The first European Worldshops Day (now World Fair Trade Day) followed two years later.
The need for co-operation on this level became more apparent with the changed European market; since 1993 the internal European borders have diminished, and trade agreements are decided upon on the level of the European Union. To have any impact, the alternative trade movement (as it was then known) also had to influence politics at the European level. European cooperation was necessary in order to develop a common position on Fair Trade issues, as was a common political lobby towards the European political institutions. Established in 1994, NEWS! is a network of 15 national associations of Worldshops, representing shops in 13 countries.
Ten years after the creation of NEWS!, its members are the National Worldshops Associations in Austria, Belgium (Flanders), Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy (CTM Altromercato and Assobotteghe), The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland (German- and French speaking) and the United Kingdom.
Through their National Associations NEWS! represents about 2,500 Worldshops and more than 100,000 volunteers all over Central and Western Europe.