Political Leadership for Digital Society

In March 2000, only a few years after the invention of the World Wide Web, three Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from different political groups – James Elles (UK), Erika Mann (Germany) and Elly Plooij-van Gorsel (Netherlands) – co-founded the European Internet Forum (EIF) with the aim to create an MEP-led network of digital policy stakeholders and a neutral, transparent and non-partisan platform to better understand the Internet and its foreseeable impact on Europe's economy, society and governance.

The European Internet Forum (until 2014 the European Internet Foundation) is established as a non-profit association under Belgian law (ASBL - Association Sans But Lucratif). Our Statutes and Bylaws can be found below. You can read more about our Governance structure, including our Steering Committee and Board here.

Mission

EIF's mission is to support European political leadership for the development of European and multilateral public policies responsive to the political, economic and social challenges of worldwide digital transformation, and to help MEPs ensure that European public policies are fit for the digital age.

We focus on digital policy issues at the top of Europe's agenda and on emerging future trends at both European and global levels. Through a continuous programme of live debates and special projects bringing together stakeholders and featuring open and inclusive dialogue, our Forum helps create a space for greater understanding of and engagement in Europe's digital future.

EIF does not itself take any position nor represent specific interests. 

Membership

The European Internet Forum is led and governed by our Political members, all of whom are elected Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). We are independent, non-profit and non-partisan. Membership is open to all current MEPs who subscribe to our principles.

Our multi-stakeholder membership comprises over 100 organisations which together encompass a broad range of interests and actors in the vanguard of European and global digital transformation. All members have the opportunity to actively participate in our activities and to help shape our programme and event agendas. Our membership includes:

We continuously seek to expand the breadth and depth of interests and points of view within the EIF membership. Our Forum is financed exclusively through the membership fees of our Business and Associate members.

A wider network

EIF programming and events also involve a network of influential institutions, organisations and individuals. This includes the long-standing participation of senior officials of the European Commission, European Council Secretariat, EU Member State Permanent Representations and Third Country Missions. Our social media platforms and newsletters reach a wider and interested audience of over 8,000 followers and subscribers.

    • Statutes

      Statutes of the European Internet Forum (EIF) asbl

      Brussels, 1/07/2020


      The founding members of the European Internet Forum are:

      Mr James Elles, former Member of the European Parliament, Rue Camille Lemonnier 70, 1050 Brussels
      Mrs Erika Mann, former Member of the European Parliament, c/o 11, Rond Point Schuman, 1040 Brussels
      Mrs Elly Plooij-van Gorsel, former Member of the European Parliament, Plantage 25, 2377AA Oude Waterweg


      Index

      Title I. Name, form, registered office, duration

      Title II. Purpose

      Title III. Members

      Title IV. General Assembly

      Title V. Governing Board

      Title VI. Steering Committee

      Title VII. Programming Committee

      Title VIII. Internal regulations

      Title IX. Fees, financial year, annual accounts, budget, liability

      Title X. Amendment - Dissolution and liquidation

      Title XI. Miscellaneous provisions


      TITLE I

      NAME, FORM, REGISTERED OFFICE, DURATION

      Article 1: Name
      The association has as its name "European Internet Forum", abbreviated “EIF”.

      Article 2: Form
      The European Internet Forum is a non-profit association governed by the provisions of the Belgian Code of 23 March 2019 on Companies and Associations.

      Article 3: Registered Office
      The registered office of the European Internet Forum is established in Belgium, within the Brussels-Capital Region (Register legal persons - RPL Brussels).
      The Governing Board can transfer the address of the registered office to any other place located in Belgium insofar as such relocation is not obliged to change the language of the statutes in accordance with the applicable language legislation.

      Article 4: Duration
      The European Internet Forum is established for an indefinite period of time and can be dissolved at any time in conformity with article 35 of these statutes.


      TITLE II

      PURPOSE

      Article 5: Purpose
      The disinterested purpose of the European Internet Forum is to stimulate public discussions with stakeholders and to contribute to the development of appropriate public policies on the European and global levels, seeking to promote the development and use of information and communication technologies, notably those relating to the Internet. The European Internet Forum puts its priority on problems and actions fitting within the framework of the European Union.

      The European Internet Forum may take all actions directly or indirectly related to its purpose. It may notably lend its assistance to and take an interest in any activity related to its purpose.


      TITLE III

      MEMBERS

      Article 6: Members
      6.1. Subject to the provisions of this article 6, the European Internet Forum may accept as "Members" legal entities legally constituted in accordance with the laws and practices of their countries of origin and natural persons.

      The European Internet Forum is composed of 2 main categories of Members, being "Effective Members" and "Other Members":

      a) Effective Members

      "Effective Members" are defined to be "Business Members" and "Associate Members" as these terms are defined hereinafter.

      The European Internet Forum may accept as a Business Member, being a commercial or industrial company widely represented in Europe, who is ready to subscribe to the EIF purpose.

      The European Internet Forum may accept as an Associate member, being a commercial or industrial association or an association of individuals (such as non-governmental organizations, business associations, academic institutions, and other private or public institutions) that is likely to contribute constructively to the EIF purpose.

      b) Other Members

      "Other Members" are defined to be "Political Members" as this term is defined hereinafter.

      The European Internet Forum may accept as a Political Member, being any natural person who is a member of the European Parliament, and who wishes to subscribe to the EIF purpose.

      6.2. The number of Members is unlimited but cannot be fewer than 3 Political Members and 3 Business Members.

      Article 7: New Members
      7.1. Application - All applications for membership are addressed in writing to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the European Internet Forum and are approved by decision of the Governing Board, upon proposal of the Steering Committee.

      7.2. Granting of membership - The decision of the Governing Board shall be taken according to the quorum and majority stipulated in article 19 of these statutes. The CEO shall inform the applicant of the decision of the Governing Board and the reasons stated therein. The membership starts with the communication by the CEO of the Governing Board’s affirmative decision to the applicant.

      7.3. Rejection and appeal - The Governing Board’s rejection of an application shall set forth the principal reasons underlying the decision, which reasons shall be based on the criteria setting out the eligibility for membership in article 6 above. The applicant concerned shall have the right to appeal that decision with the General Assembly.
      The General Assembly shall decide about this appeal at the first ordinary or extraordinary meeting of the General Assembly.

      Article 8: Rights and obligations
      Obligations of the Members: all of the Members are obliged to adhere to the objectives of the European Internet Forum. Business Members and Associate Members are obliged to pay annual fees in accordance with the provisions of article 31 of these statutes.

      In general, the Members shall comply with the applicable law, these statutes, the by-laws and the decisions taken by the bodies of the European Internet Forum in accordance with these statutes.

      Article 9: Termination of membership
      9.1. Automatic termination
      • The capacity of Member is lost ipso jure as a result of the death of the Member or the dissolution of its legal entity.
      • The membership of Political Members ceases automatically if and as soon as their membership in the European Parliament comes to an end. If - for whatever reason - their parliamentary immunity is lifted, membership is automatically suspended for this period.

      9.2. Withdrawal
      Any Political Member can withdraw form membership at any time and with immediate effect by giving written notice to the Governing Board of the European Internet Forum.
      Any Business and Associate Member may withdraw from the European Internet Forum at the end of each calendar year and shall give written notice to the Governing Board of the European Internet Forum of its withdrawal at least 2 months in advance. During this period, the membership and obligations that follows there from, including but not limited to the obligation to pay the fee, remain in full force and effect.

      9.3. Exclusion
      Members may be excluded by decision of the General Assembly upon proposal of the Governing Board or the Steering Committee, even with immediate effect, in the event
      • of a serious violation of the obligations as a Member as provided for in article 8 of these statutes, including but not limited to the non-payment of the fees due by the Business Members or Associate Members in the month of the reminder that is sent to the Business Member or Associate Member concerned, in which case the Business Member or Associate member concerned shall be considered to have withdrawn;
      • that the conditions for membership, as provided for in article 6 of these statutes, are no longer fulfilled;
      • that a Member has committed an act contrary to the laws or general rules of honour or propriety governing the profession;

      The exclusion of a Member must be indicated in the convocation. The Member must be heard. The General Meeting can only decide on the exclusion of a Member provided that the quorum and majority requirements as prescribed for an amendment to the statutes is complied with.

      9.4. Effects of termination of the membership

      9.4.1. Upon a finding by the Governing Board or the Steering Committee justifying a Member’s exclusion, the Governing Board can suspend, until the decision of the General Assembly, the rights of the Member concerned.

      9.4.2. In the event that a Business Member or an Associate Member loses the capacity of Member due to automatic termination, withdrawal, exclusion or any other cause during the course of a financial year, the annual fee shall still be owed in full.

      9.4.3. A Member who ceases to be a Member of European Internet Forum through automatic termination, withdrawal, exclusion or any other cause, nor its legal successors may not assert any right to the assets of European Internet Forum.
      The loss of capacity of Member includes prohibition on using his former capacity of Member in any manner.


      TITLE IV

      GENERAL ASSEMBLY

      Article 10: Composition
      The General Assembly is composed of all of the Members of the European Internet Forum (hereinafter “General Assembly”).

      The Business Members and Associate Members shall be represented by one delegate (“Member Representative”).
      A Member can also be represented in a General Assembly by another Member of its own constituency, provided that this representation has been registered. This means that any Business Member, Associate Member or Political Member can only be represented by respectively another Business Member, Associate Member or Political Member.

      The meeting of the General Assembly shall be chaired by the chair of the Steering Committee, or if he/she is impeded, by the Vice-Chair of the Steering Committee, or if he/she is impeded, by the oldest member or by another member of the Steering Committee as mandated by the chair.

      Article 11: Powers
      The General Assembly has the power to:
      a) amend the statutes of the European Internet Forum and pronounce the dissolution of the European Internet Forum, in compliance with the legal provisions on the subject;
      b) appoint and dismiss the members of the Governing Board;
      c) grant discharge to the members of the Governing Board;
      d) appoint and dismiss the auditor(s), including determining their compensation;
      e) grant discharge to the auditors;
      f) exclude Members;
      g) approve the budgets and accounts each year;
      h) ratify the appointment of the Political Members, that will become members of the Steering Committee, from the lists of candidates submitted to the General Assembly by the Political Members;
      i) convert the European Internet Forum into a society pursuing a social objective;
      j) all other powers explicitly granted to the General Assembly by the law and these statutes.

      Article 12: Rights of the Members at the General Assembly
      All Members shall have the right to:
      • attend the meeting of the General Assembly;
      • speak at the meeting of the General Assembly;
      • to vote when the General Assembly takes decisions on the powers as described in article 11 of these statutes. However, the Other Members (i.e. Political Members) shall be excluded from the right to vote when the General Assembly takes a decision concerning the budgets and accounts, as described in article 11 point g) of these statutes.

      All Members shall have one vote in the General Assembly.

      Article 13: Quorum, majority
      13.1. Quorum.
      Unless the law or these statutes provide otherwise, the General Assembly shall be deemed to be composed validly if fifteen (15) % of the Members are present or represented. If the quorum is not reached at any meeting of the General Assembly, the Chair of the Governing Board shall promptly convene another meeting at the earliest on the fifteenth day and within four (4) weeks following the date of the first meeting held. This second meeting shall constitute a quorum regardless of the number of the Members present or represented.

      13.2. Majority.
      The decisions within the General Meeting are taken by a simple majority of the votes present or represented, unless the law, the present statutes or the by-laws provide otherwise. In the event of a tie vote, that of the session chair is preponderant.
      For the avoidance of doubt, the decision on the budgets and accounts, as described in article 11 point g) of these statutes, shall require a majority of the votes of the Effective Members, excluding the Other Members.

      13.3. The General Meeting grants discharge to the members of the Governing Board, unless this discharge is refused by a two-thirds majority of the votes cast during a meeting of the General Assembly where at least two-thirds of the Members are present or represented.

      13.4. For amendments to the statutes and dissolution of the European Internet Forum, the provisions of article 35 of these statutes apply.

      Article 14: Meetings, agenda, resolutions
      14.1. The General Assembly shall take decisions in ordinary or extraordinary meetings. The Members are convened to the General Assembly by the Chair of the Governing Board. The Chair of the Governing Board shall call an ordinary meeting of the General Assembly once a year with at least the following points on the agenda: (1) approval of annual accounts for the past financial year, (2) approval of annual budget for the current financial year, (3) as well as discharge to the Members of the Governing Board with regard to the exercise of their mandate in the previous financial year.

      14.2. Extraordinary General Assemblies are held whenever the circumstances so require, and each time that one-fifth of the Members call for one. In the latter case, the Chair of the Governing Board must convene a General Assembly within four weeks. If no action is taken on the request for convocation of the General Assembly within two weeks of the request, the requesting parties shall be able to make the convocation themselves in accordance with the methods for convening the General Assembly that the Chair of the Governing Board must follow.

      14.3. The convocations are addressed in writing, by ordinary letter, e-mail or any other written means on behalf of the Chair of the Governing Board, sent at least four weeks before the date of the meeting of the General Assembly. The convocation shall determine the place, date and time of meeting of the General Assembly. The provisional agenda shall be specified in the convocation. Any proposal signed by one-twentieth of the Members must be placed on the agenda. If necessary, the final agenda shall be sent to all Members at least 15 days before the meeting of the General Assembly.

      Topics that are not listed on the agenda shall not be treated unless all Members are present and agree unanimously with the treatment of these topics.

      14.4. The decisions of the General Assembly are recorded in a register of minutes, which are signed by the Chair of the Governing Board. This register is kept at the registered office where it may be consulted by all Members.

      Each Member shall receive a copy of the minutes upon written request.

      The decisions are brought to the knowledge of interested third parties by mail upon request.

      14.5. Meetings via written procedure. In exceptional cases and when the urgency of the matter so requires, the General Assembly may make decisions by a written procedure. To that effect, the Chair of the Governing Board shall send the proposed resolutions to all Members via regular mail or via any other means of communication he/she deems fit (including e-mail). The proposed resolutions shall be accompanied by a memorandum prepared by the Chair, setting forth the reasons which have led to the use of the written procedure, as well as the context of the proposed resolutions. The proposed resolutions shall be deemed adopted if within ten working days after having been sent, the number of duly completed written communications returned to the Chair by the Members is sufficient to meet the quorum and voting requirements set forth in the present statutes.

      14.6. Meetings via video-conference, telephone conference and Instant Messaging services. The General Assembly may be held and decide by modern means of telecommunication that allow Members to directly hear each other and to directly speak to each other, such as telephone or video conference. In the same context, the General Assembly may also be held and decide by modern means of telecommunication that allow Members to directly converse in writing with each other, such as but not limited to Instant Messaging services.


      TITLE V

      THE GOVERNING BOARD

      Article 15: The Governing Board
      15.1. Composition. The European Internet Forum is managed by a Governing Board, which shall be composed of at least 3 and a maximum of 16 individuals. In case of a tie vote, the Chair shall have a casting vote. Unless specifically otherwise provided herein, the terms and conditions applying to the other members of the Governing Board shall also apply to the Chair.

      15.2. Elections. The members of the Governing Board shall be elected by the General Assembly from the lists of candidates submitted to the General Assembly by the Effective Members (i.e. Business Members and Associate Members). The constituency of the Business Members and the constituency of the Associate Members shall each provide a list to the General Assembly. The majority of the members of the Governing Board shall consist of candidates proposed by the Business Members.

      15.3. Political Members shall be excluded from being members of the Governing Board.

      15.4. Term. The term of mandate of a member of the Governing Board is set at 3 years. Thereafter a member of the Governing Board can be re-elected consecutively for additional three-year mandates.

      The mandate of a member of the Governing Board shall also cease if the member of the Governing Board deceases or is dismissed by the Business Member or Associate Member employing the member of the Governing Board at the moment of his/her nomination or if the member of the Governing Board withdraws from his/her mandate. In case of such cessation, the members of the Governing Board have the right to co-opt a new member of the Governing Board.
      The next General Assembly meeting must confirm the mandate of the co-opted member of the Governing Board. Upon confirmation, the co-opted member of the Governing Board shall complete the mandate of the member of the Governing Board he/she replaces. In the absence of confirmation, the mandate of the co-opted member of the Governing Board ends at the end of the General Assembly Meeting, without this affecting the regularity of the composition of the Governing Board up to that time. 

      15.5. Dismissal. The General Assembly can dismiss the members of the Governing Board at any time.

      15.6. The members of the Governing Board shall not receive a renumeration.

      Article 16: Powers
      The Governing Board shall have the power to:
      • prepare and file for acceptance by the General Assembly the annual budget and accounts pursuant to article 34 of these statutes;
      • manage the European Internet Forum;
      • represent the European Internet Forum for all statutory requirements with the possibility to delegate;
      • confirm new Members, as recommended by the Steering Committee
      • propose to the General Assembly the exclusion of a Member;
      • determine the annual fee due by the Effective Members.

      All powers not explicitly attributed to any other body of the European Internet Forum by the law or these statutes, shall be exercised by the Governing Board.

      Article 17: Chair
      The Governing Board designates from within its midst a chair, (herein “Chair”).
      If the Chair is impeded, his/her functions are assumed by the oldest member of the Governing Board being present.

      Article 18: Meetings
      The Governing Board shall meet at least twice a year upon convocation of the Chair. The members of the Governing Board shall be duly notified of a meeting by way of a written notice communicated via regular mail or via any other means of written communication (including e-mail). The notice shall contain an agenda for the meeting and identify and specify with sufficient detail the matters for which a vote will be required. The notice shall be sent at least 7 days prior to the date of the meeting. Provided that all members of the Governing Board agree, they can waive for a particular meeting compliance with the notice requirements.

      In case a member of the Governing Board is unable to participate in a meeting, such member of the Governing Board can also nominate, and be represented by, another member of the Governing Board.

      A meeting of the Governing Board shall be validly constituted even if all or some of the members of the Governing Board are not physically present or represented, but participate in the deliberations via any modern means of telecommunication that allow members of the Governing Board to directly hear each other and directly speak to each other, such as a telephone or video conference.
      A meeting of the Governing Board shall also be validly constituted even if all or some of the members of the Governing Board are not physically present or represented, but participate in the deliberations via any modern means of telecommunication that allow members of the Governing Board to directly converse in writing, such as but not limited to Instant Messaging services. In such cases, the members of the Governing Board will be deemed present.

      A dated document signed by all members of the Governing Board and recorded or inserted in the register of minutes shall equal a decision of the Governing Board. Resolutions of the Governing Board shall be filed at the seat of the European Internet Forum.

      Article 19: Quorum and majority
      (a) Quorum. Except in the cases for which particular requirements are stipulated by these statutes, two-thirds of the members of the Governing Board being present or represented is required for decision taking.
      (b) Majority. The first priority is to reach decisions by consensus. In case of voting, each member of the Governing Board shall possess one vote. The decisions of the Governing Board are taken by a majority of the votes. In the event of a tie vote, that of the session chair is preponderant.

      Article 20: Conflict of interest
      In case that a member of the Governing Board has a conflict of interest in any decision taking by the Governing Board, such a member of the Governing Board shall notify the Governing Board of such a conflict of interest before the Governing Board makes a decision and shall abstain from taking part in that decision.

      Article 21: Representation of the European Internet Forum
      The European Internet Forum shall be validly represented vis-à-vis third parties and with regard to all judicial and extra-judicial deeds by two members of the Governing Board acting jointly.
      The Governing Board can, under its responsibility, delegate the daily management of the European Internet Forum to a director or to a third party (the “Chief Executive Officer or CEO”).
      Within the framework of daily management, the European Internet Forum shall also be validly represented vis-à-vis third parties and with regard to all judicial and extra-judicial deeds by the CEO acting individually.
      None of the aforementioned persons must justify his/her powers vis-à-vis third parties. Further arrangements regarding the representation of the European Internet Forum and the delegation of authorities may be dealt with in the by-laws.


      TITLE VI

      STEERING COMMITTEE

      Article 22: Steering Committee
      22.1. Composition. The Steering Committee shall consist of at least 3 and maximum 30 individuals. The members of the Steering Committee need to be either a Political Member, or a representative of a Business Member or an Associate Member, being a member of the Governing Board. Also External Personalities can be member of the Steering Committee. The criteria for the External Personalities shall be further described in the by-laws. The distribution of the mandates of the Steering Committee over the Political Members, the members of the Governing Board and the External Personalities may be further detailed in the by-laws.

      22.2. Appointment. The Political Members of the Steering Committee shall be appointed by the General Assembly from the list of candidates submitted to the General Assembly by the Political Members. Members of the Governing Board are ex officio members of the Steering Committee. External Personalities can become members of the Steering Committee, upon invitation of the Political Members who are members of the Steering Committee.

      22.3. Term. The mandate of the Political Members in the Steering Committee expires with the mandate of the European Parliament (i.e. 5 years) or when they cease to be a Member. The mandate of the members of the Governing Board in the Steering Committee expires or terminates when their mandate in the Governing Board expires or terminates. The mandate of the External Personalities in the Steering Committee expires when the mandates of the Political Members sitting at the same time in the Steering Committee expire.

      The mandates of the members of the Steering Committee may be renewed.

      22.4. Dismissal. The General Assembly can dismiss the members of the Steering Committee at any time.

      22.5. The members of the Steering Committee shall not receive a remuneration.

      Article 23: Powers
      The Steering Committee shall have the power to:
      • set the strategy of the EIF
      • review the input from the Programming Committee;
      • approve and submit for final approval and for implementation by the Governing Board, the program of events, based on a proposal by the Programming Committee;
      • advise the Governing Board as it sees fit or as required by the Governing Board;
      • appoint the Programming Committee co-chairs.

      Article 24: Chair and Vice-Chair(s)
      The Steering Committee designates from within its midst a chair, being a Political Member. The Steering Committee can also designate from within its midst one or more Vice-Chair(s), being a Political Member(s).

      Article 25: Further arrangements
      Further arrangements regarding the Steering Committee, including relating to its meetings, agenda, and decision taking will be dealt with in the by-laws.


      TITLE VII

      PROGRAMMING COMMITTEE

      Article 26: Programming Committee
      26.1. Composition. The Programming Committee shall consist of all Members. The Business Members and Associate Members shall appoint one or more individuals acting as their representative(s) in the Programming Committee.

      26.2. Term. The mandate of a member of the Programming Committee shall continue for the duration of its membership of the European Internet Forum and shall automatically terminate when the membership of the European Internet Forum expires or terminates.

      26.3. The members of the Programming Committee shall not receive a renumeration.

      Article 27: Powers
      The Programming Committee shall have the power to:
      • Propose “the program of events” to the Steering Committee.

      Article 28: Co-chairs
      The Steering Committee designates up to three co-chairs for the Programming Committee, the first one being a Political Member, who is a member of the Steering Committee and the second one being a representative from a Business Member who is a member of the Governing Board, and the third one being a representative of an Associate Member who is a member of the Governing Board.

      Article 29: Further arrangements
      Further arrangements regarding the Programming Committee, including relating to its meetings, agenda, and decision taking will be dealt with in the by-laws.


      TITLE VIII

      INTERNAL REGULATIONS

      Article 30: Internal regulations - by-laws
      The Governing Board defines in internal regulations (or “by-laws”) the terms relating to
      • its meetings
      • representation of the European Internet Forum and delegation of authorities
      • the meetings, agenda and decision taking by the Steering Committee and Programming Committee
      • as well as all the other points that it shall deem useful to regulate.

      The by-laws cannot contain any provision that is incompatible with imperative legal provisions or with the statutes of the European Internet Forum. Such incompatible provision will have no effect.


      TITLE IX

      FEES, FINANCIAL YEAR, ANNUAL ACCOUNTS, BUDGET, LIABILITY

      Article 31: Fees
      Business Members and Associate Members pay annual fees determined annually by the Governing Board. The fees may vary according to different categories of Business Members and Associate Members. Certain categories of Associate Members may be exempted from contributions at the discretion of the Governing Board.

      The fees for the following year are communicated to the membership concerned at least two months before the end of the year. Members are billed in the first quarter of the year to which the fee relates. Payments are due by 1st April.

      The maximum fees for the Members amount to:
      Business Members: maximum 20,000 EUR
      Associate Members: maximum 4,000 EUR
      The Political Members shall not be due any fee.

      Article 32: Liability
      Members of the European Internet Forum do not incur by their membership any individual or joint and several liability for the European Internet Forum undertakings and the obligations of Members are strictly limited to the amount of their fee.

      Article 33: Financial year
      The financial year begins on January 1 and ends on December 31.

      Article 34: Accounts, Budget, Auditor
      The Governing Board shall submit before May 15 of every year for the approval of the General Assembly the audited accounts of the past financial year.

      The General Assembly shall nominate an auditor.

      The auditor shall draw up a yearly report on the annual accounts of the European Internet Forum. This report shall be submitted to the General Assembly.


      TITLE X

      AMENDMENT, DISSOLUTION AND LIQUIDATION

      Article 35:
      (a) Amendments. The General Assembly shall only be able to validly decide upon an amendment of the statutes, provided that the proposed amendments are accurately indicated in the convocation and if two thirds of the Members are present or represented at the meeting. Decisions to amend the statutes must receive a majority of two thirds of the votes cast. The decision to modify the purpose or to dissolute the European Internet Forum shall require a four-fifths majority of the votes cast.
      If two thirds of the Members are not present or represented at the meeting of the General Assembly, the Chair shall call another meeting which shall take place at the earliest on the fifteenth day following the date of the first meeting held and which meeting shall constitute a quorum regardless of the number of Members present or represented.

      (b) Dissolution. The European Internet Forum shall be dissolved:
      • upon decision of General Assembly pursuant to the quorum and majority requirements as are set forth in article 35 (a);
      • when the number of Members is less than 3 Political Members and 3 Business Members;
      • upon judicial decision.

      (c) Liquidation. In all cases of voluntary or judicial dissolution, the net assets of the dissolved European Internet Forum are allocated to the organisation or organisations that succeed the European Internet Forum provided that it is devoted to a disinterested purpose or, failing that, to one or more organisations that pursue objectives similar to those of the European Internet Forum, provided that they are devoted to a disinterested purpose.

      The name, profession and address of the liquidator(s) shall be published in the Annexes to the Belgian Official Journal.


      TITLE XI

      MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

      Article 36:
      To the extent required under Belgian law, documents and proceedings of the European Internet Forum shall be done in French. The working language of the European Internet Forum is English.

      Article 37:
      For everything that is not provided for either in the present statutes of the European Internet Forum or in the by-laws, the Governing Board has the power of decision, in conformity with the Belgian Code of 23 March 2019 on Companies and Associations.

      Article 38:
      All matters which are not covered by the present statutes shall be settled in accordance with the provisions of the applicable law.

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    • Bylaws

      Bylaws of the European Internet Forum (EIF) ASBL

      All terms used with capital herein, and not defined in these bylaws (‘règlement intérieur’), shall have the meaning assigned to it in the statutes of the Association.

      Index

      I. Disinterested purpose and objectives

      II. Membership

      III. Governance (General Assembly, Board, Steering Committee)

      IV. Chair and Vice-Chair(s) of the Steering Committee

      V. Programming Committee

      VI. Director General and Secretariat

      VII. Final provisions

      Annex 1- Governing Board Election Process


      I. Disinterested purpose and objectives

      Article 5 of the statutes provides for the disinterested purpose of the Association, as further explained hereinafter. It is the objective of the European Internet Forum to be an independent, non-partisan discussion forum with legislators, policymakers and interested parties on challenges and opportunities resulting for society from the application of information and communication technologies, notably the Internet, with the aim of improving transparency and mutual understanding, hence facilitating and accelerating the process of political decision making and putting this process on an objective basis.

      In doing so, the EIF strives to promote and to strengthen social and economic progress and prosperity, the cohesion of European society notably through the inclusion of all its groups into the 'Digital Society', the competitiveness of European business, Europe's pluralistic cultural, educational, scientific and technological heritage and wealth, the participation of citizens in democratic decision making processes, and the freedom of expression and human rights, while respecting the multilateral, competitive and open nature of the international trading system.

      The EIF seeks to develop and maintain relations with other public and private institutions interested in these issues and in particular with policy-makers outside the EU in view of the global nature of the Internet.

      The EIF does not itself take positions on specific policy issues.


      II. Membership

      II.1 EIF policies for specific types of companies and/or individuals

      II.1.1 EIF policy for law firms, consultancy companies and other professional services firms:
      - Membership as Effective Member for its own account in principle is not possible.
      - A staff member of a law firm, consultancy company or professional services firm may be designated by a client who is an EIF Business or Associate Member to represent it in EIF activities, but must participate under the name and on behalf of the EIF Member.
      - Exceptions will be considered by the Steering Committee, notably in the case of professional ICT services firms, or more generally where the applicant brings something uniquely valuable to EIF in its own right, always provided that the criteria for membership of the statutes are met.

      II.1.2 EIF policy for former Political Members:
      - All former MEPs who have been Political Members of EIF are welcome, upon request, to participate in all EIF events, with the exception of internal meetings.
      - Should a former Political Member repeatedly request to attend EIF events, the Steering Committee may ask greater clarity about the interests s/he represents.
      - Should a former Political Member become associated with an organisation which could reasonably be expected to itself become an EIF Business or Associate member, s/he will make reasonable efforts to bring that organisation into the EIF membership.
      - The Steering Committee may recognise a former Political Members or a former representative of an Effective Member (Business or Associate) or other personalities who have made an exceptional contribution to EIF with the designation "Honorary Member". Honorary Members will be invited to participate in all EIF events, excluding internal meetings. Such participation is strictly in a personal capacity.

      II.1.3 EIF policy for former MEPs and former officials from public institutions:
      - Former MEPs or officials acting as advisors to one or more organizations on a professional services basis fall under the EIF’s policy concerning EIF membership of professional services firms.
      - Former MEPs or officials may be invited on a case-by-case basis to an EIF event in light of the relevance of their previous responsibilities to the substance of the event.

      II.1.4 EIF policy for representatives of EIF Associate members:
      - Associate members can be represented at EIF by staff members and by Governing Board members; these would represent the EIF Associate member organisation and no other.

      II.2 Obligations and Rights of Members
      All EIF Members and their representatives should make all reasonable efforts to attend the EIF meetings and to participate in EIF activities.

      Member organisations must be registered on the European Parliament’s Transparency Register and their representatives must be able to access the European Parliament premises on their own.

      II.3 Fees
      In accordance with the provisions of article 31 of the statutes, the Governing Board has decided that the annual fee will be as follows, as may be updated by the Governing Board on an annual basis:

      Business Members:
      Standard fee: Euros 11.000
      Small & medium sized* enterprises: Euros 2.200 (*as per EU recommendation 2003/361, companies with less than 250 employees on their payroll, an annual turnover not exceeding 50 million euros and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding 43 million euros, and no more than one third of their capital owned directly or indirectly by a larger company.)

      Associate Membership:
      Associate Members representing commercial interests and who themselves have corporate members: Euros 2.200
      Associate Members representing commercial interests and who themselves have corporate members, but where one or more of these is a Business Member of EIF: Euros 1.100
      Associate Members representing non-commercial interests or having no corporate members: Euros 550
      The annual fee is invoiced in the first quarter of the year to which the fee is related. For new Members fees will be applied pro rata from the date of notification of membership.
      For the avoidance of doubt, it is not necessary for Members to renew their membership each year since the membership continues unless terminated in accordance with article 9 of the statutes. If a Business Member or Associate member wants to withdraw, it shall give written notice to the Governing Board, c/o Director General of the EIF with a notice period of at least 2 months (i.e. by 1st November).

      II.4 External participants (‘EIF Friends’)
      Representatives from the EU, international or national institutions, Permanent Representations and Missions to the EU, from regulatory authorities, think-tanks, the academia and other organisations that the Steering Committee may deem fit to valuably contribute to the EIF disinterested purpose but who are not eligible for membership, may be invited to attend EIF’s activities as external participants on a regular basis. This list of regular invitees is referred to as ‘EIF Friends’.

      The External participants shall comply with the guidelines as established by the Steering Committee, Governing Board or Secretariat, and shall in any case respect confidentiality, if and when applicable.

      Their participation can be terminated with immediate effect. They shall have no claim to the Association’s assets.


      III. Governance

      The European Internet Forum has the following governing bodies:

      General Assembly ('Assemblée Générale')
      Political Members attend the meetings of the General Assembly in person or may give a power of attorney to another Political Member, as to be provided for a specific meeting to the CEO (Director General).

      Each Business or Associate Member is represented in meetings of the General Assembly by one delegate (“Member Representative”).

      For the disinterested purpose of organising their representation in the meetings of the General Assembly, Business or Associate Members have the following options:
      • The Business or Associate Member nominates for each separate meeting a Member Representative on the basis of a written power of attorney specifically provided for that meeting to the CEO (Director General).

      • The Business or Associate Member, upon its admission as Member, nominates a permanent Member Representative by providing a written power of attorney to the CEO (Director General). In addition, a Member can choose to nominate an alternate for its permanent Member Representative. Both the permanent Member Representative and the alternate, if any, can be changed by the Member at any time. For this purpose, Members shall communicate a new written power of attorney to the CEO (Director General), no later than one week prior to a meeting of the General Assembly in order to have the change of the permanent Member Representative and/or alternate be effective. When nominating a permanent Member Representative and an alternate, the Member shall also communicate to the CEO the address and the email address of such persons.

      Voting shall be done by show of hands, or, in case of meetings via electronic means of communication, speech of voice or via electronic voting respectively. When the meeting has to decide on elections, appointments or nominations of persons or Members, the voting shall be done in a secret manner. Members shall be informed about the results of the voting, namely the total number of given valid votes and the distribution of such votes, however shall not be given access to the details of the voting.

      Steering Committee

      The Steering Committee consists of

      - Political Members, it being understood that in the Steering Committee an appropriate balance between the principal political groups represented in the European Parliament should be respected, as well as an appropriate balance between the representation of the Governing Board, taking into account its size, and the Political Members.

      - The members of the Governing Board.

      - External Personalities as the Political Members in the Steering Committee deem valuable and who are invited to become member of the Steering Committee by the Political Members. In case no consensus can be reached between the Political Members, they will decide by simple majority.

      Criteria for the External Personalities in the Steering Committee as provided for in article 22.1 of the statutes:

      Such personalities shall be able to significantly contribute to the EIF or to the objectives of the EIF. Membership of the Steering Committee is strictly on a personal basis. For the avoidance of doubt, external personalities can also be Honorary Members of the EIF. When considering whether or not to invite an External Personality to join the Steering Committee, the Steering Committee shall be careful to take account of any potential conflict of interest.

      Meetings, agenda and decision takings:

      The Steering Committee shall meet at least twice a year upon convocation of the Chair. The members of the Steering Committee shall be duly notified of a meeting by way of a written notice communicated via regular mail or via any other means of written communication (including e-mail). The notice shall contain an agenda for the meeting and identify and specify with sufficient detail the matters for which a vote will be required. The notice shall be sent at least 7 days prior to the date of the meeting. Provided that all members of the Steering Committee agree, they can waive for a particular meeting compliance with the notice requirements.

      In case a member of the Steering Committee is unable to participate in a meeting, such member of the Steering Committee can also nominate, and be represented by, another member of the Steering Committee.

      A meeting of the Steering Committee shall be validly constituted even if all or some of the members of the Steering Committee are not physically present or represented, but participate in the deliberations via any modern means of telecommunication that allow members of the Steering Committee to directly hear each other and directly speak to each other, such as a telephone or video conference. A meeting of the Steering Committee shall also be validly constituted even if all or some of the members of the Steering Committee are not physically present or represented, but participate in the deliberations via any modern means of telecommunication that allow members of the Steering Committee to directly converse in writing, such as via Instant Messaging services. In such cases, the members of the Steering Committee will be deemed present.

      The first priority is to reach decisions by consensus. When a vote is deemed necessary, only the Political Members present or represented shall vote, in which case a simple majority is required. In the event of a tie vote, that of the Chair is preponderant.

      Should the Governing Board disagree with recommendations of the Steering Committee, the Chair of the Governing Board shall report to the Steering Committee with an explanation of the specific matters, to be re-evaluated at the Steering Committee.

      Conflict of interest:

      When a member of the Steering Committee has a conflict of interest in any decision taking by the Steering Committee, such member shall notify the Steering Committee of such conflict and shall abstain from taking part in that decision. Minutes of meetings of the Steering Committee shall be distributed to all the members of the Steering Committee.

      Governing Board ('Organe d'Administration')

      The Governing Board (also called simply ‘Board’) consists of
      - Maximum 8 persons elected by the General Assembly upon proposal by the group of Business Members. In case no consensus can be reached between the Business Members, they will decide by simple majority.

      - Maximum 6 persons elected by the General Assembly upon proposal by the group of the Associate Members. In case no consensus can be reached between the Associate Members, they will decide by simple majority.

      When a legal entity is a Member of the Governing Board, a natural person will be appointed as permanent representative to be charged with the performance of that mandate, under the name and on behalf of the legal entity.

      Another member of the Governing Board from the same group, being a person proposed by the Business Members or the Associate Members respectively, may represent a member of the Governing Board prevented from attending Governing Board meetings in person.

      The Members will use reasonable endeavors to respect an appropriate balance between various industry sectors and interests when presenting candidates for the Governing Board in accordance with article 15.2 of the statutes. The Members will also take into account the need for appropriate renewal in the Governing Board, therefore the mandates of the members of the Governing Board should only be renewed once.


      IV. Chair and Vice-Chair(s) of the Steering Committee

      The Chair and of the Steering Committee shall be elected by simple majority of the Political Members of the Steering Committee.

      The Chair of the Steering Committee will act as the liaison and the spokesperson for the EIF towards the outside community.

      The Steering Committee may decide to appoint up to two Vice-Chair(s), who shall be elected by simple majority of the Political Members of the Steering Committee.

      The Vice-Chair(s) may act as the liaison and the spokesperson for the EIF towards the outside community, on behalf of and in coordination with the Chair. They may be mandated by the Chair of specific tasks and may replace the Chair whenever impeded.


      V. Programming Committee

      Meetings, agenda and decision takings:

      The Programming Committee shall meet at least twice a year upon convocation of the Co-chairs. The members of the Programming Committee shall be duly notified of a meeting by way of a written notice communicated via regular mail or via any other means of written communication (including e-mail). The notice shall contain an agenda for the meeting and identify and specify with sufficient detail the matters for which a vote will be required. The notice shall be sent at least 7 days prior to the date of the meeting. Provided that all members of the Programming Committee agree, they can waive for a particular meeting compliance with the notice requirements.

      The first priority is to reach programme recommendations by consensus for consideration of the Steering Committee. In case there is no consensus among Programming Committee members present, the Programming Committee co-chairs will advise the Steering Committee of the alternatives discussed.

      Minutes of meetings of the Programming Committee shall be distributed to all EIF members of the Programming Committee.


      VI. Director General and Secretariat

      Director General

      The CEO is referred to as ‘Director General’ of the EIF and is appointed by the Governing Board. S/he is responsible for the day-to-day management of the EIF, for all administrative and organisational tasks that follow from decisions of the Governing Board and if appropriate, other EIF bodies, and for managing the EIF premises. In general, the daily management includes both the acts and decisions that do not go beyond the needs of the association's daily life, as well as the acts and decisions that, either because of their lesser importance or because of their urgency, do not justify the intervention of the Governing Board.

      The Director General leads the development and implementation of the overall EIF strategy and mission, and may be requested to provide ad hoc advice to the Steering Committee and Governing Board. The Director General develops and implements specific strategic plans for EIF, with special regard to membership outreach, communication and planning of activities. The Director General reports to the Governing Board and solicits their advice and guidance whenever necessary.

      The Director General leads the Secretariat, oversees the work of other staff members and manages the financial resources. The Director General recommends a budget to the Governing Board annually. For the management of financial matters, the services of an outside accountant may be used.

      The Director General will act as secretary for the Steering Committee, the Governing Board, the General Assembly and the Programming Committee.

      The following categories describe the representation powers to be delegated to the members of the Governing Board and the Director General. A distinction is made between Type A Powers and Type B Powers.

      Type 'A' Powers
      All powers, except for the powers and the actions listed in the type B powers.
      These powers comprise amongst others:
      • the signing of the daily correspondence related to the Association’s activity;
      • the accepting of endorsed or registered mail addressed to the Association, as well as the receiving of postal or electronic mandates, be they international or not, addressed to the Association in the same conditions; for this purpose granting all discharges, signing all registers and all documents;
      • the signing of receipts for amounts paid to the Association;
      • issuing of invoices for Membership fees and contributions from the Associate Members and the collecting of the corresponding amounts;
      • the signing and terminating of all purchase contracts and license agreements for software;
      • the leasing and renting of all movable and immovable property for less than 9 years;
      • the signing and terminating of labour contracts and of all documents pertaining to the personnel administration;
      • the signing and terminating of contracts relating to consultancy services or other services provided by third parties;
      • the signing and cancelling of insurance contracts and the signing of all correspondence related to the insurances of the Association;
      • the granting of powers of attorney to third parties within the limits of this proxy to bind the Association;
      • to this end, the passing and signing of all documents, and in general doing everything that is useful and/or necessary to manage the assets of the Association.

      Type ‘B’ Powers – Financial powers
      • with regard to current accounts of all types (regardless of the currency): a right of disposition over the assets in the account; in particular, the right to make deposits, to give payment or transfer instructions, to make withdrawals, to authorize and withdraw authorization for standing payment orders and direct debit transactions, to request and write out cheques, to hand over for collection or collect financial and/or trade documents (whether subject to effective collection, or otherwise), to close the account; to request a bank card for oneself, etc.;
      • with regard to saving accounts of all types (regardless of the currency): a right of disposition over the assets in the account; in particular the right to make deposits, the right to make withdrawals, the right to close the account;
      • with regard to term investments of all types (regardless of the currency): the right to give instructions to reinvest, to effect settlement, to collect interest due, to make full or partial early repayment.

      Attribution of Powers
      The Type A Powers are delegated to the Chair of the Governing Board and to the CEO.
      As far as the amount of the transaction does not exceed 20,000 Euros the powers can be exercised with the signature of the CEO, acting alone. Where the transaction in question exceeds a value of 20,000 Euros, the powers can be exercised with the signature of the Chair and the signature of the CEO, acting jointly, or when the Chair is not available, the signature of another member of the Governing Board designated by the Chair.

      The Type B Powers are delegated to the Chair of the Governing Board and the CEO, in accordance with the following provisions:

      As far as the amount of the transaction does not exceed 20,000 Euros, the powers may be exercised with the signature of the CEO, acting alone. Where the transaction in question exceeds a value of 20,000 Euros, the powers can be exercised with the signature of the Chair and the signature of the CEO, acting jointly, or when the Chair is not available, the signature of another member of the Governing Board designated by the Chair.

      Secretariat

      The EIF Secretariat is composed of the CEO (Director General) and one or more staff members, as the Governing Board deems fit. EIF may appoint advisors for the execution of specific tasks.


      VII. Final provisions

      The Governing Board may, upon a recommendation from the Steering Committee, take the necessary steps for the EIF to join or collaborate with other associations when this is in conformity with the stated purpose and objectives of EIF.

      The EIF financial year is identical to the calendar year.


      ANNEX 1

      I. Nomination of candidates

      I.1. At least 10 weeks before the annual General Assembly meeting, the Chair of the Governing Board shall launch a nomination call.
      The Business Members and Associate Members shall put forward candidates representing their organisation.
      The constituency of the Business Members and the constituency of the Associate Members shall list all nominations for candidates within their constituency.

      I.2. If the number of nominees is less than 8 for the constituency of Business Members or less than 6 for the constituency of Associate Members, a new nomination call shall be made and the nomination process will be repeated.

      I.3. Nominations for candidates shall be made by e-mail to the secretariat of EIF. Each nomination for a candidate shall contain a short biography of the nominated candidate.

      II. Vote by constituency

      II.1. Each Associate Member can select up to 6 candidates from the list of nominations within the constituency of Associate Members. Each Business Member can select up to 8 candidates from the list of nominations within the constituency of Business Members.

      II.2. In case of a tie between candidates within a constituency, all candidates shall be elected, provided that the maximum number of available positions, respectively 6 for the constituency of Associate Members and 8 for the constituency of Business Members, is not exceeded.
      In the event that the maximum number of available positions for a constituency would be exceeded by electing all candidates in a tie vote:
      – the secretariat will invite the Members who did not yet cast a vote to do so within an extended deadline;
      – if the tie-vote persists, the relevant constituency shall vote between the tied candidates;
      – should the tie-vote persist, the Chair of the Steering Committee shall vote to break the tie-vote.

      II.3. Voting shall be secret, and by e-mail to the secretariat of EIF.

      II.4. The secretariat shall compile a list of the elected candidates by number of votes received (hereafter “Ranked List”) and shall compile an alphabetical list of the elected candidates (hereafter “Shortlist”), for each constituency. The Shortlist for the constituency of Business Members shall include the top 8 candidates in said constituency. The Shortlist for the constituency of Associate Members shall include the top 6 candidates in said constituency.

      III. General Assembly vote
      III.1. The Shortlist for each constituency shall be submitted to the General Assembly.
      III.2. The members of the Governing Board shall be elected by the General Assembly from the lists of candidates submitted to the General Assembly in accordance with articles 13 and 14.5 of the statutes, through written procedure.
      III.3. Each vote shall be secret, and shall be cast by e-mail.
      III.4. The decision of the General Assembly shall include the term for which the Governing Board members are elected.
      III.5. If a quorum for valid decision making in accordance with the statutes is not reached, a new vote of the General Assembly shall be organised.
      III.6. If a quorum for valid decision making in accordance with the statutes is reached but no majority is reached for the candidates of one or both lists, the Chair of the Governing Board shall consult members of the relevant constituency and a new constituency vote and General Assembly vote shall be organised in accordance with sections II and III of this Annex 1.

      IV. Early termination of a Governing Board Member's mandate

      IV.1. In the event of an early termination of a Governing Board members’ mandate, the members of the Governing Board have the right to co-opt a new member of the Governing Board, who shall be confirmed by the General Assembly, conform article 15.4 of the statutes. In order to do so, they shall in first instance select the highest-ranking candidate from the Ranked List, taking in to account the preference expressed by the votes of the Members during the Governing Board election.

      IV.2. If no candidates from the Ranked List are available or if the General Assembly decides not to elect a candidate from the Ranked List, the Chair of the Governing Board shall consult the constituency, respectively the constituency of the Associate Members or the constituency of the Business Members, depending on the constituency of the member of the Governing Board whose mandate was terminated, to propose a new replacement.

      IV.3. The vote of the General Assembly shall take place in accordance with articles 13 and 14.5 of the statutes.

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