One of the recommendations of the Final Report of the Pointer Project (Proposals for an Operational Infrastructure for Terminology in Europe), published in 1996, was that a European association for terminology should be established. More than forty terminology organisations from around Europe participated in the Pointer Project, which was co-funded by the European Commission as part of the Multilingual Action Plan (MLAP) programme.

The European Association for Terminology (EAFT) was founded on 3rd October 1996, in Kolding, Denmark. The EAFT is a non-profit organisation which aims to bring together any person or organisation with an interest in terminology.

The EAFT intends to bring together all the individuals and institutions in Europe who are active in or have an interest in the discipline of terminology. In this context, "Europe" is interpreted broadly and is not limited to member states of the European Union. The EAFT plans to develop co-operation agreements which will permit other institutions, networks or associations (from Europe and elsewhere) to participate in the EAFT. Such agreements have already been established with the International Information Centre for Terminology (Infoterm), Nordterm (Nordic network for terminology), Realiter (Pan-Latin terminology network), the Réseau Lexicologie Terminologie Traduction (LTT) and the European Language Resources Association (ELRA).