(Full text of the Statute, as it was adopted at the Founding Congress of the European Left in Rome, May 9, 2004, with the amendments approved by the 2nd Congress in Prague, November 2007, by the 3rd Congress in Paris, December 5, 2010, by the 4th Congress in Madrid, December 14, 2013, by the 5th Congress in Berlin, December 18, 2016, and by the General Assembly meeting in Brussels, June 24, 2017.)
The “Party of the European Left”, abbreviated here to “European Left” (EL) is a flexible, decentralised association of independent and sovereign European left-wing parties and political organizations which works on the basis of consensus.
We unite democratic parties of the alternative and progressive Left on the European continent that strive for the consistent transformation of today’s social relationships into a peaceful and socially just society on the basis of the diversity of our situations, our histories and our common values.
Therefore we refer to the values and traditions of the socialist, communist and labour movement, of feminism, the feminist movement and gender equality, of the environmental movement and sustainable development, of peace and international solidarity, of human rights, humanism and antifascism, of progressive and liberal thinking, both nationally and internationally. We work together in the tradition of the struggles against capitalist exploitation, ecological destruction, political oppression and criminal wars, against fascism and dictatorship, in resistance to patriarchal domination and discrimination against “others”.
We defend this legacy of our movement which inspired and contributed to securing the social certainties of millions of people. We keep the memory of these struggles alive including the sacrifices and the sufferings in the course of these struggles. We do this in unreserved disputation with undemocratic, Stalinist practices and crimes, which were in absolute contradiction to socialist and communist ideals.
The political and economic developments in the capitalist societies at the beginning of the 21st century create the necessity and the possibility for parties of the Left, for democratic movements and alternative social forces, when working out and realising social alternatives not only to take into account all aspects of globalisation and internationalisation. Europe as a new space for the integration of more and more countries in East and West, in North and South is both an opportunity and a challenge to regain the political initiative for Left forces. We want and have to most closely combine our work on this political level with the social activities of members and sympathizers of the party organisations within the communities, regions and nation states.
We are doing it in sharp rejection of and developing an alternative to capitalism and to the financial hegemonic groups with its worldwide attempts of pushing through neo-liberal policies into the daily life of the peoples by the so-called political and economic elites.
And we want and have to do so being not a force free of contradictions, having differing views on many issues. But we are united in resisting political incapacitation and taking part in common struggles for an alternative that has freedom, equality, justice and solidarity as its goals.
With this international approach we declare:
The Left is willing to take on responsibility in Europe and the world for the shaping of our societies, to work out political alternatives, to promote them among the public and to win the required majorities.
Liberal internationalisation and globalisation are no phenomena of nature but the result of political developments and decisions. Therefore we stand consequently against the neo-liberal policy of dealing with these challenges, against war and militarization. Just now courage and confidence must be given to the people that the world is not a commodity, that a new world of peace, democracy, sustainability and solidarity is possible.
The non-profit organization uses the name “Party of the European Left”, or in its abbreviated form “European Left” (EL). The name is always preceded or followed by the wording „Association sans but lucratif“ or acronym „ASBL“, indicating that it is founded in conformity with the Belgian law (“Loi sur les associations sans but lucrative, les associations internationals sans but lucrative et les fondations”; hereinafter referred to as “the Law” or “the Belgian law”) and that it does not pursue any profit goals. The party of the EL gets an official name in each of the official languages of the European Union as well as in the official languages of the states where EL member parties exist.
The names are:
The juridical seat of the EL is in 1000 Brussels, the head-office is located in Square de Meeus, 25, in the Brussels judicial region, and might be moved to another place in Belgium after decision by the Executive board.
The association is created for an undetermined term.
The EL aims to:
The EL supports fully gender equality in all areas of daily life. Feminism, gender-mainstreaming and gender-democracy are basic principles for the functioning and development of the EL.
Founding members of the EL are socialist, communist, red-green and other democratic left parties of the member states and associated states of the European Union (EU) who are working together and establishing various forms of co-operation at all levels of political activity in Europe based on the agreements, basic principles and political aims laid down in its political programme (manifesto). Agreement on the European Left’s Statutes is prerequisite for membership to the Party of the European Left.
Membership to the EL is open to any left party and political organisation in Europe that agrees with the aims and principles of the political programme (manifesto) and accepts these statutes. Their membership is granted by decision of the members.
Other parties and political organisations may apply for observer status or might be invited by the members to become observers to the EL.
Number of member parties is unlimited, but the minimum number of full members is three. Should the number fall below this threshold, the Association is obliged to start procedures for its dissolution.
The European Left consists of:
The member parties of European Left are:
The observer parties of European Left are:
A member party or political organisation of the EL with full rights and duties can become any left party or political organisation that is represented in the European Parliament, or in the National parliaments or in the Parliaments of regions resp. in regional assemblies within the EU member-states.
In EU member states with no regional level it will be sufficient for a party or political organisation to have representatives on the municipal level, if a municipal parliament represents at least 20 percent of the country’s population.
Parties or political organisations, coming from EU member states or non-EU-member states, can become members of the European Left with full rights, irrespectively if they have parliamentarian representation on different levels.
Membership in the EL does not prohibit the membership in other associations, including outside the European Union if their acting is not contrary to the aims and principles of the EL. The structure of the EL allows political organisations which are politically close to the EL to take part in its activities in a flexible manner. If desirable for both sides, EL can establish a cooperation protocol for this purpose, and the respective organisations are entitled the designation “EL partner”. The main criterion here is the political consent with the basic positions of the EL; the decision-making process inside the EL on this issue follows the rules for decision about membership issues.
Applications for membership in the EL are discussed and decided by the Council of Chairpersons on a basis of proposals from the Executive board, and ratified by the General Assembly on suggestion of the Executive board on the basis of the application, the rules and political programme presented by the applicant. The decision by the Council of Chairpersons has to be based on consensus.
The temporary / provisional suspension from participation in activities, or the cancellation of membership in the EL in case a member party or political organisation seriously violates statutes and political aims are carried out through the same procedures as the admittance.
The applications for observer status is decided in the same way, except for the need of ratification. Observer parties or political organisations take part in the meetings, to which they are invited, as consultants. They can make proposals to the Executive board for examination and decision making.
Member parties or political organisations that want to leave the EL have to declare this officially; the same procedure applies to observers and individual members.
The EL introduces the opportunity of individual membership as a contribution to its future development. In countries where full-right member parties or political organizations exist each member party or political organization is free to decide to carry out this opportunity and to adopt – for its own country – the most convenient approach and practical methods. According to that approach women and men residents of an EU member state can become individual members of the EL. In countries where full-right member parties or political organizations exist they can form friendship circles associated to these parties of the European Left. Citizens of other European countries associated to the EU can also apply for individual membership. They can join or create a national group of individual members applying for observer status in the EL.
The political foundation on European level Transform!Europe is affiliated to the EL.
The full members (Member Parties) exercise the rights assigned by law, namely:
In addition, full members have the following rights:
The Observer Parties and Individual Members have the same rights except for the right of voting. The same applies to the EL Partners.
The Member Parties have following duties:
The Observer Parties and Individual Members have the same duties except the duty of Membership fee payment.
The European Left has the following organs:
The work of the EL organs has to be performed openly and transparently, all political documents adopted are to be published. The EL documents and materials are supplied to all member parties and political organisations. Personal data can only be made public when the Belgian law and/or regulations by the European or Belgian authorities stipulate to do so.
For the concrete mode of work of all bodies as well as regulations concerning the decision-making process rules of procedures have to be worked out and to be adopted by these organs on proposal of the council of chairpersons.
Respecting the values of gender democracy the share of women in all organs (except the Council of Chairpersons) must be 50%.
Being a pluralistic association, proceedings of the EL have to be chosen that guarantee the rights of different sensitivities.
The EL is striving to cooperate closely with parliamentarian groups of the Left in other European bodies and networks.
The EL will establish forms of cooperation with youth organisations of the European Left – both representing national or regional organisations as well as European structures and other international networks.
The Congress has all powers of the General Assembly, in addition to that it:
The Congress shall hold at least one session every three calendar years. It is convened by the Executive board, which can also decide on convening an extraordinary congress. In the year, when the Congress is convened, it fullfils also the duties of General Assembly.
The Congress takes place alternately in different member states of the European Union or in European states where EL member parties or political organisations exist.
A Congress can be convened at the request of at least 25% of its delegates.
The Congress consists of:
The Congress can only take decisions if at least half of the members are present or represented, its decisions are taken by the majority of delegates present at its session. Delegates, representing the Member Parties, have full voting rights, each delegate one vote. The proposals it decides upon have to be based on the principle of consensus as stipulated by Article 1 (preamble) of this Statute.
All other participants are observers without the right to vote: i.e.:
In addition, the Executive board is permitted to invite representatives of other parties or organisations to the Congress.
The Council of Chairpersons is meeting at least once a year.
The Council of Chairpersons can invite other representatives of EL bodies or from EL member parties resp. political organisations to participate in its meeting.
The Council of Chairpersons has, with regards to the Executive board, the rights of initiative and of having objection on important political issues.
The Council of Chairpersons adopts resolutions and recommendations that are passed to the Executive board and the Congress.
The Council of chairpersons decides about applications for EL membership.
The decisions of the Council of Chairpersons are adopted by majority of the members present with the respect for the consensus principle (Art. 1 of this Statute); it can only take decisions if at least half of the members are present or represented.
The Executive board consists of:
Executive board meetings take place at least two times a year.
The convening of a meeting of the Executive board can also be asked for by a member party or political organization.
It can only take decisions if the majority of members are present or represented. Its decisions are taken by majority of the members present or represented, with the chairperson or his/her replacement having the casting vote, should the vote be tied.
The Executive board carries out the decisions on the basis and orientations of the Congress and General Assembly and in accordance with the Council of Chairpersons
The Executive board is responsible for organizing the daily work of the EL. It is responsible for the creation, composition and functioning of the Political Secretariat. The Executive board has to adopt the rules of its own work, as well as the rules of the work of the Secretariat.
It determines the political guidelines of the EL between the General Assembly meetings. It proposes, plans and convenes political initiatives for the EL, convenes conferences or thematic meetings. It sets permanent or ad hoc working groups on special political issues and questions, chooses their responsible staff and fixes their tasks in accordance with the plan of action established by the Congress.
The Executive board convenes the Congress and General Assembly meetings, fixes the proposals for time-table and venue, and suggests the standing orders and agenda.
The General Assembly is composed by the members of the Executive board and by the members of the Council of Chairpersons. When convening the General Assembly, the Executive board can decide to include more delegates from the Member Parties, but the principle of equal representation of all parties should be respected.
The General Assembly meets once a year, with the exception of the years, when the Congress is convened; in these years the Congress meeting replaces the General Assembly meeting.
The General Assembly is convened by the decision of the Executive Board, by the chairperson or his/her replacement, at least 60 days before the date of the meeting unless in case of emergency. In the latter case, the period may not be less than 30 days. Invitations must be sent by e-mail or by regular post and must give the agenda as well as the day, time and place of the meeting.
It can also be convened by a request addressed in writing to the chairperson by at least one fifth of the members.
Any member of the General Assembly unable to attend can be represented at its meeting by another member from the same Member Party, to whom s/he must give written authority to act (letter, fax or e-mail). The authorised representative may not hold more than two authorisations valid for the same general assembly meeting.
The General Assembly may only deliberate an issue if half the members are present or represented.
The authority of the General Assembly is determined by Law.
The proposals it decides upon have to be based on the principle of consensus as stipulated by Article 1 (preamble) of this Statute.
It decides the following by majority:
The General Assembly:
Changes of these statutes and the Manifesto are decided by the Congress after a thorough debate on the issue within each member party. If, due to changes in European legislation, a conflict arises between this Statute and the valid European or national regulations in the time between two Congresses, the General Assembly is entitled to adopt, on the basis of proposals made by the Executive board, provisional changes to the Statute which will bring it to correspondence with the European regulations. These changes are considered temporary, and their validity or rejection would be decided by the next EL Congress.
The Presidency consists from the Chairperson, Vice-chaiperson(s) and the Treasurer. It fulfills the role of “conseil d´administration” according to the Belgian law, representing the EL legally, financially and administratively.
The Presidency members are appointed by the General Assembly for a period of three years and can be dismissed by the General Assembly at any time.
If the General Assembly has not replaced the Presidency at the end of their mandate, they shall continue to exercise their mandate while awaiting the decision of the General Assembly.
Their mandate only expires in the case of death, resignation or dismissal.
If a position is vacant, a member can be appointed provisionally by the General Assembly. In that case the member will carry out the mandate of the member s/he is replacing. Outgoing members are re-eligible.
If the Chairperson is unable to attend, his/her functions shall be carried out by the vice-chairperson or the oldest member of the Presidency present.
The Presidency shall meet at the instance of the Chairperson or of two members of the Presidency.
It may only take a decision if the majority of its members are present or represented. Its decisions are taken by majority of voters present or represented; should the vote be tied, the Chairperson has the casting vote.
The Chairperson is elected by the Congress. A candidate for the EL Chairperson is presented by the Council of Chairpersons until and including the next Congress. The candidacy should follow a rotation principle.
On a proposal of the Council of Chaipersons the Congress elects one or more Vice-chairpersons on a gender quota basis.
In case the post of the Chairperson becomes vacant before the next ordinary Congress, the Executive board can name a Chairperson ad interim until the next Congress.
The Chairperson represents the EL in the public sphere in the contacts with representatives of organisations and institutions, including the EU authorities, Trade Unions, non-governmental organisations and associations:
The Vice-chairperson/s support/s the Chairperson in fulfilling his/her duties.
The Political Secretariat carries out the decisions of the EL organs. It is lead by a coordinator. It consists of the members elected on the basis of proposal by the Council of Chairpersons by the Executive board (with the respect to gender equality). The Secretariat fulfils the duties of a CEO, being tasked with the daily management of the Party including the authority to take the decisions needed for this task.
In particular it is responsible for:
The EL is financing itself by membership fees, contributions and public subsidies. The financing is based on transparency, in particular in terms of bookkeeping, accounts and donations, privacy and protection of personal data, in accordance with the Regulation No 1141/2014 of the European Parliament and the Council, in particular its Article 23.
The Treasurer prepares the annual budget, which has to be approved by the General Assembly after its adoption in the meeting of treasurers of the member parties. The budget has to be prepared and approved in accordance with the regulations and rules regarding the funding of the political parties on European level. The Treasurer also prepares the annual accounts which then are verified by the group of elected internal auditors. The annual accounts are then approved by the General Assembly.
The (annual) membership fee is set by the general assembly. The membership fee may not be less than one (1) euro per year, and shall not exceed the maximal values according to the Regulation No 1141/2014 of the European Parliament and the Council, Article 20.
The dissolution of the EL requires a decision of the General Assembly.
The General Assembly can only pronounce dissolution in the same circumstances as those for modification of the statutes of the Association. The General Assembly which pronounces the dissolution of the Association shall appoint liquidators and shall determine their authority. The assets, after the discharge of any debts, must be transferred to an association, an institute or a foundation that follows the same goal as this association, by decision of the general assembly.
Anything not explicitly provided for in these statutes shall be regulated by the Belgian law (“Loi sur les associations sans but lucrative, les associations internationals sans but lucrative et les fondations“), and by the applicable European laws and regulations, in particular the Regulation No 1141/2014 of the European Parliament and the Council on the statute and funding of European political parties and European political foundations.
These statutes have been drawn up in French and English. Should there be any discrepancy between the two linguistic versions, the English version shall prevail.