COBCOE was founded in 1973 as an association called the Council of British Chambers of Commerce in Europe, largely at the instigation of Sir Dick Pantlin CBE, the then President of the British Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg.
Some of the constituent chambers were founded in the 19th century, and the decision to adopt a formal constitution resulted from a common wish to give more weight to a series of informal annual meetings that had previously taken place.
The original aims were to create official links with the British government on behalf of all British chambers of commerce in Continental Europe, and to ensure that by speaking with one voice on matters of common.
A clear indication of the important role played by COBCOE in this respect is the Memorandum of Understanding signed by COBCOE with TPUK, now UKTI in 2003, which sets out the terms for cooperation between the UK's trade and investment agency, British embassies and COBCOE member chambers and its successor MOU with UKTI dated February 2012 outlining a clear strategic partnership between COBCOE and UKTI.
Since 2005, COBCOE has also employed an executive in London in order to enhance its services to member chambers and their members and formally incorporated as a company limited by guarantee in October 2013 taking into account its increased growth and relevance for members and partners of the organisation, employing a full time Chief Executive and management team to run the organisation.