Statutes

PREAMBLE

1. Delegates from National Associations of the Deaf within the European Community convening in a meeting on 06.03.1985 voted to establish a European organisation, named the "European Community Regional Secretariat" (hereafter referred to as "ECRS"), as a de facto European association.

2. At the General Assembly Meeting of 10.10.1994, the name "ECRS" was changed to "European Union of the Deaf" (hereafter referred to as "EUD").

3. The delegates at the General Assembly Meeting of 14-15.10.1996 voted to establish the EUD as a formal European association with legal status/personality under an appropriate Belgian law.

4. On 17.05.1997, EUD was re-established as an international association with scientific, humanitarian, religious, artistic or educational purposes (hereafter referred to as "international association") under the Belgian Act of 25.10.1919 (as amended by Act of 06.12.1954):

5. Overview of the names of the Full Members:

- FEDERAÇÃO PORTUGUESA DAS ASSOCIAÇÃOES DE SURDOS - Portugal
- BRITISH DEAF ASSOCIATION - United Kingdom
- CONFEDERACION NACIONAL DE SORDOS DE ESPAÑA - Spain
- DANSKE DØVES LANDSFORBUND - Denmark
- DEUTSCHER GEHÖRLOSEN-BUND - Germany
- DOVENSCHAP - The Netherlands
- ENTE NAZIONALE PER LA PROTEZIONE E L'ASSISTENZA DEI SORDOMUTI - Italy
- FEDERATIE VAN VLAAMSE DOVENVERENIGINGEN - Belgium
- FÉDÉRATION FRANCOPHONE DES SOURDS DE BELGIQUE - Belgium
- FÉDÉRATION NATIONALE DES SOURDS DE FRANCE - France
- HELLENIC FEDERATION OF THE DEAF - Greece
- IRISH DEAF SOCIETY - Ireland
- KUUROJEN LIITTO RY - Finland
- ÖSTERREICHISCHER GEHÖRLOSEN-BUND - Austria
- SVERIGES DÖVAS RIKSFORBUND - Sweden
- CYPRUS DEAF FEDERATION - Cyprus
- HUNGARIAN NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF THE DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING - Hungary
- FELAG HEYRNARLAUSRA - Iceland
- LATVIJAS NEDZIRDIGO SAVIENIBA - Latvia
- VEREINIGUNG DER GEHÖRLOSEN UND SCHWERHÖRIGEN - Luxembourg
- NATIONAL ASSOCATION OF THE YOUNG DEAF - Malta
- NORGES DØVEFORBUND - Norway
- POLSKI ZWIAZEK GLUCHYCH - Poland
- SLOVAK UNION OF THE DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING - Slovak Republic
- ZVEZA DRUŠTEV GLUHIH IN NAGLUŠNIH SLOVENIJE - Slovenia
- SGB FSS - SCHWEIZERISCHE GEHÖRLOSENBUND, FÉDÉRATION SUISSE DES SOURDS, FEDERAZIONE SVIZZERA DEI SORDI - Switzerland
- LIETUVOS KUR I J DRAUGIJOS RESPUBLIKNÉ VALDYBA - Lithuania
- SVAZ NESLYŠÍCÍCH A NEDOSLÝCHAVÝCH v ČR (UNION OF THE DEAF AND THE HARD OF HEARING IN CZECH REPUBLIC) - Czech Republic

6. The delegates at the General Assembly Meeting of 13-14.04.2000 voted to amend the statutes.

STATUTES OF THE EUROPEAN UNION OF THE DEAF

ARTICLE 1. ORGANISATION

ART 1. Section 1. Name

1. The international non-profit association will be named "European Union of the Deaf", in short "EUD".

ART 1. Section 2. Legal seat

1. The legal seat of the EUD is to be established in Belgium at the following address: Coupure Rechts 314, B-9000 Gent. It can be transferred to any other location in Belgium by sole decision of the Board and ratified by the General Assembly.

ARTICLE 2. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

ART 2. Section 1. Aims

1. In keeping with the principles of full and equal citizenship for all Deaf people, the aims of EUD, which is without any spirit of profit, are:

a) to protect the human rights of and advance equalisation of opportunities for Deaf people by advancing the principles contained in international and European treaties, declarations and/or charters and any other such instruments that respect the dignity of Deaf people and promotes effective participation and full citizenship for Deaf people;

b) The EUD shall, when necessary, use special, legal or administrative measures to ensure that Deaf people in every European country have the right to preserve their own sign languages, organisations and their cultural and other activities;

c) to promote and support the interests of all Deaf people within the European Union and in Europe.

ART 2. Section 2. Objectives

1. In furtherance of the above aim, EUD shall have the following objectives:

a) to encourage collaboration between national deaf associations in the EU and Europe and to promote and/or co-ordinate Europe-wide activities for Deaf people and their organisations;

b) to make representation to the European Union and/or European institutions and organisations on relevant issues;

c) co-operate with the European Union and/or European institutions and affiliated organisations to create equal opportunities for Deaf people;

d) to work in co-operation with the World Federation of the Deaf (hereafter referred to as "WFD") and other advocacy organisations on behalf of Deaf people and other people with disabilities;

e) promote the exchange of information and experiences between organisations working on behalf of Deaf people within the European Union and in Europe, and also with the WFD;

f) to conduct research and to collect data about various aspects of Deafness, including social, cultural, educational, employment, technological and legal developments which affect Deaf people; and to provide this, together with other relevant data, to the European Commission and Parliament, national governments and their agencies and to organisations working on behalf of Deaf people within the European Union and the WFD;

g) to receive, use, hold and apply contributions, requests or endowments, or the proceeds thereof, in advancing the quality of life of Deaf people;

h) to do all such things to further, directly or indirectly, the aim and objectives of the EUD.

ART 2. Section 3. Definition

1. The term "Deaf" refers to any person with a hearing loss, particularly those who use sign language as their natural or preferred/first language. National organisations are entitled to use their own preferred definition of deafness and sign language but should adhere to the WFD/EUD definition.

ARTICLE 3. MEMBERSHIP

ART 3. Section 1. Membership categories

1. There shall be six (6) membership categories:

a) Full Members;
b) Affiliated Members;
c) Associate Members;
d) Sponsoring Members;
e) Honorary Members;
f) Individual Members.

2. Membership in all categories shall be by application to the Board according to procedures, which the Board shall determine in the Internal Rules. All decisions on membership for all categories shall be ratified by the General Assembly. All applicants for Full, Affiliated, Associate and Sponsoring Membership should be legally established in their respective countries.

ART 3. Section 2. Full Members

1. National organisations of Deaf people active in the Member States of the European Union, with a clear majority of Deaf voting members among its membership and with a governing Board with a majority of Deaf persons and whose goals are similar to the above-described aims are eligible for admission to the Full membership category.

2. In addition, national organisations of Deaf people active in the Member States of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), that meet the above-given criteria are also eligible for admission to the Full membership category.

3. These organisations will hereafter be referred to as Full Members.

4. Full membership is limited to one (1) national organisation of the Deaf in each country.

ART 3. Section 3. Affiliated Members

1. This category applies to non-EU national organisations of Deaf people that meet the above-given criteria and that are active in the Central and Eastern European countries, which have signed an association treaty with the European Union and/or may be joining the European Union in the future.

2. This category may also apply to non-EU national organisations of Deaf people that meet the above-given criteria and that are active in countries that are geographically situated in Europe and that have signed or may sign a co-operation treaty or a free trade association treaty with the European Union.

3. Affiliated membership is limited to one (1) national organisation of the Deaf in each country.

4. These organisations will hereafter be referred to as Affiliated Members.

ART 3. Section 4. Associate Membership

1. Any European organisation, which does not meet the above-given definition of a national organisation of the Deaf, but desires to support the aims of the EUD, may be admitted to the Associate Membership category.

2. In addition, Associate Membership shall be open to the following organisations:

a) National organisations working on behalf of Deaf people within the European Union that are not Full Members of the World Federation of the Deaf, and
b) Regional and local organisations working on behalf of Deaf people within the European Union.

ART 3. Section 5. Sponsoring Members

1. European or local organisations of or for the Deaf desiring to support the aims of the EUD may be admitted to the Sponsoring Membership category.

ART 3. Section 6. Honorary Members

1. Honorary membership may be conferred upon any individual, legal or physical, who has rendered important and outstanding European and international services to the EUD.

ART 3. Section 7. Individual Members

1. Any individual residing in one of the Member States of the European Union who has shown an interest in Deaf European affairs and feels that he/she can contribute in furthering the aims of the EUD, can apply to be an Individual Member.

ART 3. Section 8. Withdrawal

1. Any Member may withdraw from the EUD at any time by registered letter containing a notice of resignation to the Board. The withdrawal shall come into effect after three months from the date of the registered letter. The member shall, however, be obliged to pay all due fees for the year in which withdrawal is submitted.

ART 3. Section 9. Termination and suspension

1. Membership of the EUD can be terminated, upon recommendation by the Board, by resolution of the General Assembly, at which at least two-thirds (2/3) of all Full Members, will be present and deciding by three-fourth (3/4) majority if the Member in question acts against the aims and objectives of the EUD. The Member in question retains the right to defend itself at the General Assembly before the vote on exclusion or termination is taken.

2. Solely in cases as mentioned in Article 5, Section 2, 3. and Article 6, Section 1, 3., the Board can suspend all rights of the Member in question.

ART 3. Section 10. Rights

1. No Member, of whatever category at whatever point in time, can claim and/or exercise any rights whatsoever on the assets of EUD except in a situation where a Member has granted a loan to EUD.

ARTICLE 4. THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

ART 4. Section 1. The General Assembly

1. The General Assembly shall consist of Full Members, represented in accordance with their Articles of association but limited to a maximum of two (2) Deaf delegates per Member. Each Full Member shall be entitled to two (2) votes. The Board Members may not act as delegates for their respective national organisations at the meetings of the General Assembly.

2. The following individuals shall attend the General Assembly and have a right to address the General Assembly, but no right to vote:

a) the Board Members; 
b) the Director and staff of the EUD Secretariat.

ART 4. Section 2. Observers

1. The following persons, legal or physical, shall be allowed to attend the General Assembly as "observer" and, with permission from the President, may address the General Assembly but shall have no right to vote: the Affiliated Members, Associate Members, Sponsoring Members - represented in accordance with their Articles of Association but limited to a maximum of two delegates per Member -, Honorary Members, and Individual Members.

ART 4. Section 3. Competencies

1. The General Assembly shall have the following exclusive competencies:

a) review and approve submitted reports on activities of the EUD;
b) take action on submitted financial reports and budgetary matters;
c) approve the annual accounts and the budgets;
d) review and approve the upcoming year's action programme and give new direction to the EUD;
e) consider and vote on all submitted recommendations, proposals and motions;
f) amend the Articles of association;
g) accept and terminate the membership of any Member and expel non-paying Members from the EUD;
h) appoint and dismiss Board Members;
i) dissolve and liquidate the EUD.

ART 4. Section 4. Meetings

1. Ordinary meetings of the General Assembly shall be held every year at a place mentioned on the invitation. The President shall call such meetings. This call shall be accompanied by a proposed draft Agenda that shall be submitted to all Full Members at least three (3) months prior to the date of the General Assembly Meeting.

2. Extraordinary meetings may be called by the President after consultation with the Board Members and the Director or at the request of one-fourth (1/4) of the Full Members. Such meetings shall require advance notice of at least one (1) month (if possible). Delegates shall assume responsibility for their own travel and other expenses while attending Extraordinary meetings.

ART 4. Section 5. Quorum and vote

1. The General Assembly can only vote on a subject on the agenda or on any other subject that has been approved unanimously by all Full Members present at the General Assembly.

2. Each Full member is entitled to two (2) votes at meetings of the General Assembly.

3. The quorum shall always comprise more than 50% of those entitled to vote.

4. Voting may be by roll call, by show of hands, or if requested by at least two (2) Full Members, by secret ballot. All questions/matters except proposals for amendments in the Statutes or for the dissolution of the EUD may be decided by a simple majority vote. If the number of votes is equal, the President will cast a vote (this is an exception to the rule contained in ARTICLE 4, Section 1, para 2 a) which states that the Board Members have no right to vote).

ART 4. Section 6. Minutes

1. Minutes of every General Assembly are drawn up by the secretary or the Board Member indicated by the President at the start of the Meeting, and signed by such secretary or person and the President.

2. The minutes are kept in a separate binder, where they remain at the disposal of all Full Members. Third parties wishing to consult the minutes must address a request to the Board who shall have sovereignty in deciding whether to allow the request or not.

ARTICLE 5. THE BOARD

ART 5. Section 1. Members, election procedure, and duties

1. The Board shall consist of five (5) members.

2. Each Full Member has the right to propose one (1) candidate for the Board. The candidate proposed by a Full Member has to come from the country of that Member. The General Assembly elects the Board Members.

3. The General Assembly shall elect:

a) a President who shall preside over meetings of both the General Assembly and the Board. 
b) a Vice-President who shall preside over meetings of the General Assembly and the Board whenever the President is unable to attend. 
c) three (3) Board Members.

4. The Board Members shall not be allowed to hold more than one of the above functions at the same time.

5. Board Members shall serve as individuals and represent the spectrum of EUD membership, not as representatives for their respective national organisations.

6. Board Members are elected for a four-year term and may be re-elected.

7. If a Board Member resigns, he/she must hand in his/her resignation by sending a registered letter, duly signed by him/her. His/her resignation will take effect, one month after the date of sending of the registered letter.

ART 5. Section 2. Competencies

1. The Board has all competencies which are not exclusively granted to the General Assembly. In particular the Board shall have the competence to:

a) give direction to the EUD secretariat in implementing decisions of the Board;
b) for the recruitment and appointment of appropriately qualified person(s) to staff the EUD secretariat;
c) take responsibility for the finances of EUD.

2. The Board reviews actions and makes decisions between meetings of the General Assembly and implements policies approved by the General Assembly.

3. The Board shall not interfere in the internal affairs of any member organisation. However, the Board has the right to suspend or expel any member organisation whose activities may be found to be in violation of EUD statutes, subject to approval by the General Assembly (See ARTICLE 3, Section 9).

4. The Board has the authority to issue and revise Internal Rules within the limitations of the Statutes. A copy of the Internal Rules, including revisions, shall be sent to all Full Members.

5. The Board shall review applications for any membership category according to procedures which the Board shall determine and which are included in the Internal Rules (See ARTICLE 3, Section 1, para 2).

6. The Board shall, either at its meeting or by mail, agree on a final agenda for meetings of the General Assembly.

ART 5. Section 3. Meetings

1. The Board shall meet at least twice a year or as business requires.

2. The meetings of the Board shall be held at a place mentioned on the invitation. The President shall call such meetings. This call shall be accompanied by a proposed draft Agenda that shall be submitted to all Board Members.

ART 5. Section 4. Quorum and vote

1. The quorum shall always comprise a minimum of three (3) Board Members. The Board shall take a decision by a simple majority based on a show of hands. The President or chair of the meeting has the casting vote if a motion is tied.

ART 5. Section 5. Replacement

1. Should a vacancy occur in the Executive Board, he or she will be replaced at the discretion of the Executive Board. The replacement must come from of a Full Member's country. In the event of the office of the President becoming vacant, the position will be automatically filled by the Vice-President. All replacements must be ratified at the next meeting of the General Assembly.

ART 5. Section 6. Minutes

1. Minutes of every Board Meeting are drawn up by the secretary or the Member of the Board indicated by the President at the start of the Meeting, and signed by such secretary or person and the President.

2. The minutes are kept in a separate binder, where except for personal matters, they remain at the disposal of all Full Members.

ART 5. Section 7. Representation of EUD

1. All legal acts that bind EUD shall, in the absence of a special proxy, be signed by the President or the Vice-President, each acting individually.

2. The Board may decide to grant specific mandates to one or more members of the Board or even third parties, in order to represent the EUD in one or more specific undertaking(s).

ARTICLE 6. FINANCES

ART 6. Section 1. Sources of income

1. The sources of income for the EUD shall be:

a) Membership fees;
b) Subsidies, grants, gifts, contributions, donations, legacies and other provisions of wills and testaments given to support either the general aims or a specific purpose of the EUD;
c) Monies acquired by any other means not in violation of the law.

2. The amount of the various membership fees shall be listed in the Internal Rules. Each Member is required to pay the annual fee by the date specified in the Internal Rules in order to remain a member in good standing.

3. Members failing to pay regular fees without any valid reason shall automatically lose all privileges set out in the Articles of association and Internal Rules and may by decision of the General Assembly be suspended or expelled from the EUD. (See also ARTICLE 3, Section 9). A suspended or expelled member has the right to appeal.

4. The Board may in special cases, or when necessary, obtain bank loans.

ART 6. Section 2. Accounting year

1. The accounting year shall follow the calendar year.

ARTICLE 7. AMENDMENT AND DISSOLUTION

ART 7. Section 1. Amendment

1. The General Assembly may review and take action on proposed amendments to the current Articles of Association only at an Ordinary Meeting. Any proposal for amendments to the Statutes can emanate from the Board or from at least one-fifth (1/5) of the Full Members. The draft of the amendment will be put on the agenda together with the Board's recommendations and added to the invitation for the Ordinary Meeting of the General Assembly, according to ARTICLE 4, Section 4, para 1. A two-thirds (2/3) majority vote is required by the General Assembly for approval of proposed amendments and the quorum mentioned in ARTICLE 4, Section 5, para 3 must be respected.

ART 7. Section 2. Dissolution

1. Proposals regarding the dissolution of the EUD shall be submitted by either the Board or the majority of Full Members in good standing at the Ordinary Meeting of the General Assembly.

2. Voting on such a proposal shall be taken at an Extraordinary Meeting of the General Assembly.

3. The quorum shall always be comprised of two-thirds (2/3) of those entitled to vote. Approval for dissolution shall require a three-fourth (3/4) majority vote.

4. In the event of dissolution, the Extraordinary Meeting shall decide that the assets of the EUD shall be awarded to another named non-profit organisation having a similar or related aim and operating within the European Union.

ARTICLE 8. GENERAL TERMS

ART 8. Section 1. Applicable law and legal text

1. Aspects which are not foreseen in the present Statutes, and more particularly the publications in the Annexes to the Belgian Official Journal (Belgisch Staatsblad/Moniteur Belge), will be dealt with in accordance with Belgian law, including the Act of 27.06.1921, as amended by the Acts of 02.05.2002, 16.01.2003, 22.12.2003, 9.07.2004 and 27.12.2004.

2. The Dutch original text is the legal text.

ART 8. Section 2. Interpretation of Statutes

1. In case of difference as to the interpretation of the Statutes, the Board has the competence to arbitrate.

As amended and adopted unanimously by the National Associations of the Deaf present at the EUD General Assembly in Ghent, Belgium on 13-14.04.2000.

Done in as many originals as there are members
In Ghent, Belgium
On 14.04.2000

As amended and adopted unanimously by the Full Members of EUD, present at the EUD General Assembly in Dublin On 8-9.05.2004

Done in as many originals as there are members
In Dublin, Ireland
On 09.05.2004

As amended and adopted unanimously by the Full Members of EUD, present at the EUD General Assembly in Luxembourg on 14-15 May 2005.

Done in as many originals as there are members
In Luxembourg. 
On 15.05.2005

As amended and adopted unanimously by the Full Members of EUD, present at the EUD General Assembly in Austria On 13-14.05.2006

Done in as many originals as there are members
In Vienna, Austria
On 14.05.2006