Title I Organisation
Article 1 Name
The organisation shall be named European Union of the Deaf, hereinafter referred to as ‘EUD’ or ‘Association’, as agreed at the Annual General Assembly Meeting of 10 October 1994. The on 06 March 1985 as the European Community Regional Secretariat (ECRS) established de facto European organisation was reinstated with legal status as an international association with scientific, humanitarian, religious, artistic, or educational purposes on 17 May 1997 in accordance with the Belgian Act from 25 October 1919. It shall be subject to the Belgian Act of 27 June 1921 under which it is entitled to bear the name: international not-for-profit association.
Article 2 Internal Rules
EUD shall be governed by the present Statutes and subsequent amendments, the appropriate Belgian laws (as referred to in Article 1), and by the Internal Rules of the Association, including its subsequent annexes.
Article 3 Duration
The Association’s duration is unlimited. Its legal status may be amended at any time in accordance with Article 32 of these Statutes. Its dissolution may only be carried out in accordance with Article 33 of the present Statutes.
Article 4 Legal Seat
The registered office of the Association is established in Belgium at the following address: Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat 26/15, 1040 Etterbeek. It may be transferred to any other location in Belgium by the decision of the Board, including subsequent approval by the General Assembly in accordance with Articles 13 and 21.
Article 5 Purpose
Section 1 Mission Statement
It is the aim of EUD to represent and promote the interests of Deaf Europeans at European Union level to achieve equality in public and private life for Deaf people all over Europe to ensure they can become full citizens in their own right.
Section 2 Aims
To protect the human rights of and advance equal opportunities for all deaf people in compliance with the principle of non-discrimination EUD shall act in accordance to 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 promote their equal and full participation in all spheres of society. All these aims shall be carried out according to the principles of transparency and democratic participation. EUD shall – when necessary – use special legal or administrative measures to achieve the aims and objectives as set forth in these Statutes.
To fulfil its aims and objectives EUD reserves the right to become a member of relevant European-level or international organisations. It also may sign co-operation agreements with relevant organisations. Co-operation partners cannot at whatever point in time, claim and/or exercise any rights whatsoever on the assets of the Association.
EUD has three concrete long-term aims:
- Recognition of the right to use an indigenous sign language;
- Empowerment through communication and information; and
- Equality in education and employment.
Section 3 Objectives
In furtherance of the abovementioned aims EUD shall have the following objectives, which must be carried out in consultation and co-operation with its members and must be in accordance with existing and subsequent international human rights instruments, following a rights-based approach to disability and deafness:
- To encourage active collaboration and exchange of information between member organisations and co-operation partners;
- To promote and co-ordinate pan-European activities and events for deaf people and their respective organisations, including training events to strengthen its members to carry out the aims stipulated in these Statutes at national level;
- Establish and maintain active co-operation, dialogue, and representation with European and international institutions and organisations, as well as its representatives, including but not limited to the European Union, the Council of Europe, or the United Nations;
- Establish and maintain active co-operation with other relevant non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as set out in the Internal Rules (Article 4), as well as the media, trade unions and employers;
- Promote and systematically monitor European-level legislative proposals and carry out campaigns to influence policy and practices throughout Europe;
- To conduct and commission research and collect data in any area affecting deaf people and provide this – when necessary in co-operation with other organisations – to relevant stakeholders and organisations, including but not limited to the European Union institutions and/or national governments and their agencies, as well as academic and research entities;
- To prepare and disseminate position papers, periodic information bulletins and other contributions – either in writing or in sign – may it be online or offline;
- To defend the interests of its member organisations and of their members’ organisation when called upon by them to do so at European level and through them also at national level;
- To do all such things to further, directly or indirectly, the aims and objectives of the Association.
Article 6 Definition
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 Deaf and sign language but should adhere to the WFD/EUD definition.
Title II Members
Article 7 Membership
There shall be five (5) membership categories: (1) full members, (2) affiliated members, (3) associate members, (4) honorary members, and (5) individual members.
The rights and obligations of these members shall be set forth in the present Statutes and Internal Rules of the Association.
Any reference to ‘member’ or ‘members’ shall refer to all members (full, affiliated, associate, honorary, and individual) collectively, unless otherwise stated. The term ‘member organisation’ or ‘member organisations’ shall refer to full, affiliated, and associate members only, unless otherwise stated.
Member organisations shall be legally constituted pursuant to the laws and customs of their country of origin.
All members except honorary members shall contribute to an annual membership fee.
The rights and obligations of all members shall be set forth in Articles 5 and 6 of the Internal Rules. The membership application procedures shall be set forth in Article 9 of the Association’s Statutes.
No member, of whatever category at whatever point in time, can claim and/or exercise any rights whatsoever on the assets of the Association except in a situation where a member has granted a loan to EUD.
Article 8 Membership Categories
Section 1 Full Members
National organisations of Deaf people (‘National Associations of the Deaf’, NADs) 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 objectives conform to the principles and objectives set forth in Article 5 of the present Statutes are eligible to apply for full membership.
In addition, national organisations of deaf people active in the Member States of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) that meet the above-mentioned criteria are also eligible for admission to the full membership category.
Full members shall be informed and consulted on an ongoing basis about the activities of the Association. Full members have complete ownership of the organisation. Full members set and approve the policy directions and the priorities of the Association and contribute to all of its activities on an ongoing basis.
Full membership is limited to one (1) national organisation of the deaf in each country.
Section 2 Affiliated Members
National organisations of deaf people (‘National Associations of the Deaf’, NADs) active in Central and Eastern Europe, which have signed an Accession Treaty with the European Union and/or may be joining the European Union in the future, with a clear majority of deaf voting members among its membership and with a governing Board with a majority of deaf persons and whose objectives conform to the principles and objectives set forth in Article 5 of the present Statutes are eligible to apply for affiliated membership.
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 a geographically situated in Europe and that have signed or may sign a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with the European Union.
This category may in the future also apply to Member States of the Council of Europe (CoE) after ratification by the General Assembly.
Other countries that are not geographically situated in Europe but wish to become affiliated to EUD for political or other reasons require prior approval by the General Assembly.
Affiliated members shall be informed and consulted on an ongoing basis about the activities of the Association.
Section 3 Associate Members
Any European, national, regional, and local organisation, which does not meet the above-given criteria of a national organisation of the deaf, but desires to support the aims of the Association and whose aims and objectives are not in contrast to the aims of the Association as set forth in Article 5 of the present Statutes, may apply to become an associate member, as long as their geographic reach is within Europe. This may include corporate and profit-oriented associations and groupings.
Section 4 Honorary Members
Honorary membership may be conferred upon any individual, legal or physical that has rendered important and outstanding European and international services to EUD and the European Deaf Community.
Section 5 Individual Members
Any individual who has shown an interest in the Association’s work and thinks s/he can further the aims and objectives of EUD can apply to be an individual member.
Article 9 Membership Application Procedure
All applications are subject to approval by the Board and the General Assembly as set forth in the Internal Rules (Article 8).
Honorary membership is subject to approval by the General Assembly. Only full members and members of the Board may nominate honorary members.
Article 10 Withdrawal, Termination/Exclusion & Suspension
Any member may withdraw from EUD at any time without reasons by registered letter containing a notice of resignation. The withdrawal shall come into effect immediately.
Providing there is sufficient evidence that existing members do not conform to the principles laid out in Article 5 of the Statutes, and/or Articles 7 the Board can recommend the termination of a membership to the General Assembly. Membership is only terminated if approved by the General Assembly.
The Board has the right to suspend membership in accordance with Article 22 of the Statutes and solely if a member is found in violation of Article 5 and/or Article 31 of the Statutes and/or Articles 5, 6 & 7 of the Internal Rules.
Any member who, in whatever way and for whatever reason, ceases to be a member of the Association shall have no claim for compensation from the Association and shall have no claim on the Association’s assets. The applicable membership fees shall remain due and payable to the end of the financial year. Re-application may only be granted after two (2) years by recommendation of the Board and subject to approval by the General Assembly and only if there is sufficient evidence that the terms of violation have changed.
In all cases set forth in this article the results shall be communicated to all members within 35 days.
Title III Organisational Structure & Secretariat
Article 11 Organisational Structure
The organisation consists of the following structural organs:
- The General Assembly; and
- The Board, which is chaired by the President;
The Secretariat and its staff assist the organisation in achieving its long-term goals.
Article 12 Secretariat
The Secretariat shall be headed by an Executive Director who is directly accountable to the EUD Board. All other staff members report to the Executive Director.
B General Assembly
Article 13 Composition
The General Assembly shall consist of Full Member representatives, which are appointed by the Full Members in accordance with their statutes.
The following individuals shall attend the General Assembly and have the right to address the General Assembly but no right to vote:
- All Board Members;
- EUD Executive Director;
- EUD secretariat staff.
Representatives from all membership categories have the right to attend the General Assembly but can only address the General Assembly after seeking permission from the President. Member representation must follow Article 5 of the Internal Rules of the Association.
EUD co-operation partners and invited guests may attend but have no right to vote. They may only address the General Assembly after seeking permission from the President.
Article 14 Powers & Competences
The General Assembly shall have the following exclusive competences according to the Statutes and Internal Rules:
- Elect the Board (Members: 1 President, 1 Vice-President, 3 Ordinary Board Members);
- Review and approve submitted reports on EUD activities;
- Take action on submitted financial reports and budgetary matters;
- Approve the annual accounts and budgets;
- Review and approve the upcoming year’s action programme and give new direction to the EUD;
- Mandate the EUD Board and/or Secretariat to apply for project funding for the coming year(s);
- Amend and vote on all submitted recommendations, proposals and motions;
- Amend the Statutes and Internal Rules of the Association;
- Accept and terminate the membership of any Member and expel non-paying Members from EUD in accordance with Article 10 of the Internal Rules;
- Appoint and dismiss Board Members;
- Change the name or the location of the Association;
- Dissolve EUD.
Article 15 Annual General Assembly
The Annual General Assembly shall take place once a year in a Member State of the European Union at a location mentioned in the formal invitation. It shall follow the countries of the Presidency of the European Union, unless the Full Member in question is unable to host the Assembly.
Article 16 Extraordinary General Assembly
Extraordinary General Assembly meetings may be called by the President after consultation with all Board Members and the Executive Director or at the request of one-fourth (1/4) of the full members.
Article 17 Quorum & Vote
The General Assembly holds the highest authority of the Association.
A decision can only be made by the General Assembly on items on the previously approved agenda.
Only Full Members have voting rights in accordance with Article 5(2) of the Internal Rules of the Association.
The quorum shall always comprise more than 50% of those entitled to vote.
All decisions shall be considered adopted/ratified/approved by simple majority of the ‘yes’ votes cast (more than 50%) with the exception of amendments to the Statutes/Internal Rules and the dissolution of the Association, which require a two-thirds (more than 2/3) majority.
Delegates may vote for any given option or choose to abstain. An abstention counts as a vote.
Voting may be by roll call, by show of hands, by electronic vote, or if requested by at least two (2) Full Members, by secret ballot. Voting by proxy is not permitted.
Article 18 Invitations & Agenda
The invitations and agenda for all General Assembly meetings (annual and extraordinary) must be sent to all members in writing in accordance with Articles 11 and 12 of the Internal Rules.
Article 19 Minutes
Minutes of every General Assembly meeting are drawn up by a member of the Secretariat or a person indicated by the President at the start of the meeting, and signed by such person and the President.
The minutes shall be made available in the Members’ section of the EUD website, where they remain at the disposal of all members. Third parties wishing to consult the minutes must address a request to the General Assembly who shall have full sovereignty in deciding whether to grant the request or not.
Article 20 Procedures
The procedures on votes and decision-making are set forth in the Internal Rules of the Association.
The General Assembly will be chaired by a person appointed by the Board and should not be a Board or staff member.
Article 21 Composition
The Association’s Board shall consist of five (5) members: one (1) President, one (1) Vice-President, and three (3) ordinary Board Members.
All Board members must – at all times – adhere to the principles laid out in Article 5 of the Statutes, as well as the EUD core terms and principles stipulated in Article 7 of the Internal Rules.
Article 22 Powers & Competences
The Board shall have all competences, which are not exclusively granted to the General Assembly. In particular it shall have the competence to:
- Give direction to the EUD secretariat in implementing decisions of the General Assembly and the Board;
- Recruit and appoint appropriately qualified person(s) to staff the EUD secretariat;
- Take responsibility of the finances of EUD;
- Review actions and make decisions between meetings of the General Assembly and implement policies approved by the General Assembly;
- Suspend or expel any member organisation in violation of the EUD Statutes, subject to approval by the General Assembly in accordance with Article 10;
- Recommend the revision or amendment of the Statutes and Internal Rules subject to approval by the General Assembly in accordance with Article 17 and Article 32;
- Review applications for all membership categories in accordance with Article 8 of the Internal Rules of the Association;
- Agree on a final agenda for meetings of the General Assembly in consultation with the Full Members.
The Board shall not interfere in the internal affairs of any member organisation.
Article 23 Procedures
The Board shall meet at least four (4) times a year, or as business requires.
The procedures on elections, votes, and decision-making are set forth in the Internal Rules of the Association.
The Board meeting shall be chaired by the President. If the President is not present, the Vice-President shall chair the meeting. If both are not present, one Board member shall be chosen among the Ordinary Board Members in attendance.
Minutes of each Board meeting are drawn up by the Executive Director, a Board Member, or a secretary indicated by the Chair at the start of the meeting, and signed by such person and the President.
The minutes shall be made available in the Members’ section of the EUD website, where, except for personal matters, they remain at the disposal of all Full Members. Third parties wishing to consult the minutes must address a request to the General Assembly which shall have full sovereignty in deciding whether to grant the request or not.
Article 24 President
Section 1 Powers & Competences
The President shall have the power to mandate his/her tasks to other Board Members and/or the Secretariat.
The President is a member of the EUD Board and partners with the Executive Director and the Secretariat in achieving EUD’s vision. He/She provides leadership to the Board, which sets the strategy and to whom the Executive Director is accountable.
Section 2 Responsibilities
The President shall represent EUD in external policy and political matters. Only in his/her absence can this responsibility be taken by the Vice-President or mandated to any other Board Member or the Executive Director.
For a clearly defined task the President may delegate his/her right to externally represent EUD to another Board Member or to the EUD Secretariat. The President shall, however, be responsible for any decision or action taken by the representative on his/her behalf.
The President shall not take any public decision on behalf of EUD without prior consultation with the Board.
The President shall manage Board meetings after developing the agenda with the Executive Director. He/She monitors the financial planning and the financial reports and discusses issues confronting EUD with the Executive Director. He/She encourages the Board’s role in strategic planning.
The President shall formally evaluate performance of the Executive Director and the effectiveness of the other Board Members in accordance with Human Resource management procedures. He/She shall evaluate the annual performance of EUD in achieving its aims and objectives.
The President shall perform other responsibilities as assigned by the Board.
Article 25 Vice-President
Section 1 Powers & Competences
The Vice-President is a member of the EUD Board. He/She performs the EUD President’s responsibilities when the EUD President is not available or has specifically mandated him/her to do so.
Section 2 Responsibilities
The Vice-President reports to the EUD President and works closely with the EUD President and other EUD staff.
The Vice-President performs all other responsibilities as assigned by the EUD Board.
Article 26 Board Members
Section 1 Powers & Competences
The President and the Vice-President, as well as Ordinary Board Members, shall have the powers conferred upon them in the present Statutes and the Internal Rules of the Association. They report to the General Assembly.
Section 2 Responsibilities
All Board Members, including the President and the Vice-President shall attend all EUD Board meetings. In case of non-attendance, Article 13(3) of the Internal Rules must be applied.
EUD Board Members shall volunteer for and willingly accept assignments and complete them thoroughly and on time. They stay informed about EUD matters, prepare themselves for meetings and review and comment on minutes, reports, and other documentation, as required.
Board Members actively participate in EUD’s annual evaluation and strategic efforts.
D Secretariat & Executive Director
Article 27 Secretariat
Section 1 Powers & Competences
The Secretariat shall be based at the registered office of the Association.
The Secretariat shall have a representation function for the tasks with which it is charged.
All efforts should be made to retain a gender and geographical balance. A pro-active approach should be taken with regard to the recruitment of deaf sign language users.
Section 1 Responsibilities
It shall be the Secretariat’s role to implement the broad policy decisions made by the governing bodies. In accordance with Article 22 it shall be responsible for the recruitment procedure.
Article 28 Executive Director
Section 1 Powers & Competences
The Executive Director shall report directly to the Board and shall co-ordinate the work of the Secretariat. In its daily work it shall represent EUD externally in compliance with the provisions set out in Article 24(2).
Section 2 Responsibilities
The Executive Director shall be responsible for the following tasks and shall have the mandate to delegate any of those to other staff members:
- Management of the EUD secretariat and staff;
- Networking with European Institutions and relevant European NGOs;
- Contact person for European Institution representatives and relevant European NGOs and co-operation partners;
- Main contact for communication with members;
- Attending relevant national and European events or meetings when mandated by the President and/or invited by members;
- Promoting the Deaf Community in all EUD member countries;
- Management of project proposals/reports/applications/finances by following the relevant project calls in the European institutions;
- Manage the finances and control the costs in co-operation with the Board;
- Prepare meetings in co-operation with the Board, including all documentation and organisation.
In all of his/her tasks the Executive Director shall support the Board and the General Assembly in achieving the aims and objectives set forth in Article 5.
Title IV External Representation
Article 29 Representation to Third Parties
The Association shall be validly represented to third parties and with regard to all deeds by the President or the Vice-President, each acting individually. All legal acts and proceedings that bind the Association shall, in the absence of a special proxy, be signed by the President or the Vice-President, each acting individually.
Within the framework of daily management, the Association shall be validly represented to third parties and with regard to all deeds by the Executive Director.
None of the aforementioned persons must justify his/her powers vis-à-vis third parties.
The Association shall also be validly represented for one or more specific undertaking(s), within the framework of his/her mandate, by a proxy holder duly mandated by the Board, or within the framework of the daily management, by the Executive Director.
Title V Finances
Article 30 Financial Year
The financial year shall follow the calendar year, running from 1 January to 31 December.
The General Assembly shall have the power to change the dates of the financial year.
Article 31 Sources of Income
The sources of income 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 EUD, may it be public or private.
The Board may, in exceptional circumstances, obtain bank loans.
Title VI Amendment & Dissolution
Article 32 Amendment
The General Assembly shall have the power to ratify and review proposed amendments to the present Statutes and Internal Rules. Proposals for amendments may emanate from the Board or from at least one-fifth (1/5) of the Full Members. The draft of the amended Statutes and/or Internal Rules must be added to the agenda and sent to all Full Members two (2) months prior to the start of the General Assembly.
Changes can only be adopted by the General Assembly in accordance with Article 17.
The amendments to the Statutes and/or Internal Rules must be presented to the relevant authorities and must be published in the annexes of the Belgian Official Journal, in accordance with the applicable legislation set forth in Article 1.
Article 33 Dissolution
The General Assembly shall have the power to dissolute the Association. Proposals for dissolution may emanate from the Board or from at least one-fifth (1/5) of the Full Members.
The dissolution of the Association must be added to the agenda of a General Assembly meeting and voting shall be in accordance with Article 17.
In the event of dissolution, the General Assembly shall appoint two liquidators and determine their powers. The General Assembly shall also decide on the assets of the organisation, which must be awarded to another named not-for-profit organisation, having similar or related aims to the Association.
Title VII Communication
Article 34 Official Language
The language for all official documentation shall be Dutch, when required by Belgian law.
Article 35 Working Languages
The working languages of the Association shall be written English and International Sign.
Article 36 General Assembly & EUD Events
All EUD events and General Assembly meetings shall be conducted in International Sign. Every effort will be made to provide national sign language interpretation, taking into account financial and structural constraints. Where the event is also aimed at a wider hearing audience, spoken language interpretation shall be made available.
A pro-active approach to the recruitment of deaf interpreters shall be made.
Title VII Final Provisions
Article 37 Applicable Law and Legal Texts
The Dutch original text shall be the only legally binding text.
The Association shall be subject to the laws set forth in Article 1 of the present Statutes. Any aspects that have not been dealt with under the present Statutes shall also be subject to the laws set forth in Article 1.
Article 38 Interpretation of Statutes
The Board shall have the competence to arbitrate should any dispute arise in relation to the interpretation of the present Statutes and Internal Rules. The Internal Rules shall be subordinate to the Statutes, as set forth in Article 1 of the Internal Rules of the Association.