EUROPEAN FEDERATION OF JOURNALISTS (EFJ), AISBL – STATUTES
Article 1. Name and legal notices
The name of the Association shall be “European Federation of Journalists” (hereinafter referred to as the “Association”). The Association may also use the acronym EFJ.
All deeds, invoices, announcements, communications, letters, orders, websites and other documents, whether in electronic form or not, issued by the Association must contain the name of the Association, immediately followed or preceded by the words “Association internationale sans but lucratif” or “AISBL”, and the address of its registered office, its company number, the words “registre des personnes morales” or the abbreviation “RPM”, followed by an indication of the company court of the Association’s registered office and, where possible, the Association’s e-mail address and website, and the fact that the Association is in liquidation. Any person contributing, on behalf of the Association, to a document or website without including these mentions may, pursuant to Article 2:22 of the Belgian Companies and Associations Code, and depending on the circumstances, be held liable for the Association’s commitments contained in such a document or website.
Article 2. Legal form
The Association is an international non-profit association governed by the provisions of the Belgian Code of Companies and Associations, as amended from time to time.
Article 3. Registered office
The registered office of the Association is established in the Brussels-Capital Region.
The registered office may be transferred to any place in Belgium by decision of the Board of Directors, hereinafter referred to as the Executive Committee, provided that the transfer does not result in any change to the language of these Articles of Association by virtue of the legal provisions in force relating to the use of official languages in Belgium. Such a decision by the Board of Directors, hereinafter referred to as the Executive Committee, does not require amendment of the Articles of Association, unless the Office is transferred to another region in Belgium, in which case the Board of Directors, hereinafter referred to as the Executive Committee, is competent to amend the Articles of Association to reflect the transfer.
If the transfer involves a change in the language of these Articles of Association by virtue of the provisions in force relating to the use of official languages in Belgium, only the General Meeting shall be competent to decide on the transfer of the registered office with the attendance and majority requirements required for the amendment of the Articles of Association, as set out in these Articles of Association.
The Association may establish agencies and/or offices in any other country or any other place.
Article 4. Character
a) The European Federation of Journalists shall consist of journalists’ trade unions and associations in Europe and shall act in accordance with the provisions of its constitution, as the regional group of the International Federation of Journalists.
It has been created to represent the interests of journalists’ unions and associations and their members within the professional, economic, social, cultural, legal and political framework of Europe, and more specifically of the European Union and the Council of Europe. It is a democratic organisation, independent of any ideological, political, governmental or religious affiliation. It works throughout Europe to support issues related to trade union functions and the exercise of professional journalism, and to protect and defend freedom of expression and information and the rights of journalists as set out in Article 10 (1) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
b) Europe as defined in these rules is composed by the countries which are members of the Council of Europe.
c) The European Federation of Journalists is an Association Internationale sans but lucratif (AiSBL) as defined under Belgian law. The Administrative Committee is responsible for meeting the Federation’s obligations as an AiSBL.
d) The European Federation of Journalists is an autonomous body of the ETUC (European Trade Union Confederation) and officially accredited by the European Union as a social partner.
Article 5. Objectives – Activities
The objects of the European Federation of Journalists shall include:
- (a) to protect and strengthen the rights and freedoms of all journalists and journalists’ unions and associations in Europe;
- (b) to defend and promote trade union principles and organisation;
- (c) to promote and defend freedom of information, media freedom and pluralism and independence of journalism;
- (d) to uphold and improve professionalism and to promote high standards of journalism, ethics of journalism, and journalistic education;
- (e) to improve and defend the social and working conditions of all journalists, employed and freelance;
- (f) to promote and maintain editorial democracy;
- (g) to promote the social role of journalists and the profession of journalism, particularly its contribution to democracy and freedom;
- (h) to fight for authors’ rights and international reimbursement systems;
- (i) to promote equality of sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status, to exercise non-discrimination in its activities and to strive to achieve equality in representation within its statutory bodies;
- (j) to fight against the precariousness of journalists.
The activities of the European Federation of Journalists include:
- (k) to conduct research and monitoring of violations and to take action to defend journalists and their work;
- (l) to encourage and support member unions and associations in collective bargaining and to strengthen their role as a collective organisation representative of journalists at the workplace, freelance journalists and atypical workers;
- (m) to promote co-operation between member unions and associations, and to support trade union development, by means of the organisation of regional groups;
- (n) to encourage the provision of professional and trade union education and training for journalists;
- (o) to co-ordinate action to ensure the safety of journalists and to incorporate safety training in collective agreements between member unions and associations and employer organisations;
- (p) to promote understanding and solidarity and to encourage member unions and associations to provide goodwill and assistance for members of other member unions and associations who may be working in their territories;
- (q) to work closely with the ETUC, other trade unions and with relevant NGOS and social partners in the field of media, information and for the promotion of press freedom;
- (r) to establish and maintain close relations with relevant international, government and non-government organisations in pursuit of these objects.
Article 6. Duration
The Association has been created for an indefinite period.
Article 7. Membership
All unions and associations of journalists in Europe have the right to apply for membership of the European Federation of Journalists, in accordance with the provisions of these statutes.
To become a member of the European Federation of Journalists, a union or association must submit an application form to the General Secretary of the European Federation of Journalists, and after acceptance by the Steering Committee, pay the fee as provided by Article 47 of these rules.
In principle all members of the EFJ should also be full or associate member of the IFJ according to the IFJ-rules. New EFJ members can, when appropriate, be adopted without this provision.
Unions and associations from countries outside Europe may be accepted as EFJ member-unions or associations after proposal by the EFJ Steering Committee ratified by its next Annual or General Meeting. The approval of at least two-thirds of the voting delegates present is required to endorse the admission of new EFJ members from outside Europe.
A member union or association may be expelled from membership by decision of the EFJ General Meeting if:
- (a) It no longer meets the conditions of membership as set out in Article 4 of these rules; or
- (b) It acts in a manner contrary to the principles or objects or in a manner likely to damage the interests of the Federation; or
- (c) It is more than 12 months late in paying its membership fees.
Any member union that has been duly expelled by the EFJ General Meeting from membership for non-payment of fees cannot be accepted again into membership until it agrees arrangements to pay the arrears it accrued at the date of its expulsion.
A provisional decision to expel a member may be made by the Steering Committee after a proper investigation of the circumstances and provided two-thirds of committee members present vote to do so. Any such decision shall be notified immediately to the member in question. The member may appeal against the decision to the next EFJ General Meeting, which shall confirm or reverse the decision, but in the meantime the member shall be suspended from membership.
If a provisional decision of suspension of a member union has been taken according to Section IV, 7 (c), the EFJ Steering Committee shall reverse the suspension immediately if the suspended union’s debt is settled and the membership fees are paid in full.
Any member may resign from the federation by giving six months’ notice in writing to the General Secretary.
Article 8. General and Annual Meeting
The General Meeting (GM) shall be the supreme governing body setting the general direction of the Federation.
The GM shall normally meet every third year in advance of the IFJ Congress. It shall be composed of one delegate from each member union and association who shall have the right to vote and the members of the Steering Committee. The IFJ President and IFJ Executive Committee members elected from Europe shall have the right to participate. Each member union and association has the right to send observers from their union. The Steering Committee, on the proposal of member unions of the EFJ, can invite guests from the ETUC and other national and international organisations, as well as the IFJ member unions.
The Steering Committee may convene an extraordinary GM at any time if three fourths of the members of the Steering Committee vote in favour. The Steering Committee shall convene an extraordinary GM if half of the member unions and associations make such a demand in writing.
Member unions and associations shall have votes on a national basis at General Meetings, according to the following scale:
- Up to 600 members 2 votes
- Up to 1.200 members 3 votes
- Up to 2.400 members 4 votes
- Up to 4.800 members 5 votes
- Up to 8.000 members 6 votes
- Up to 12.000 members 7 votes
- Up to 15.000 members 8 votes
- Up to 26.000 members 9 votes
- Over 26.000 members 10 votes
Member unions and associations who have not paid their membership fee according to provisions shall not have the right to vote or to submit candidates for the Steering Committee.
The working languages of the GM shall be English, French and German.
The Steering Committee will prepare the agenda of the GM and decide on voting rights. The invitation and draft agenda has to be sent to member unions and associations at least two months before the GM.
The GM shall have its own working rules. A report on decisions of the GM will be prepared immediately and sent to member unions and associations. The minutes will be confirmed by the Steering Committee. They shall be kept on record in the secretariat.
The GM shall:
- a) elect: a Presidium of three people to chair the GM; an electoral commission. Members of the Presidium and of the electoral commission shall not be members of the Steering Committee nor candidates for the next Steering Committee.
- b) confirm the agenda, changes of the working rules proposed by the Steering Committee and the voting rights of the unions and associations.
- c) decide on the admission of urgent motions and table urgent points or motions to the agenda only with the approval of at least two-thirds of the voting delegates present. Urgent motions can be presented until the opening of the GM and shall only be accepted for debate if they deal with grave and urgent matters which have occured since the closing date for motions and require immediate action which only the General Meeting can authorize.
- d) approve the minutes of the last GM respectively of the last AM.
- e) decide on membership of unions and associations who are in the situations described in Section IV, point 7 (a), (b) or (c).
- f) approve the report of the Steering Committee, which will be presented by the President.
- g) consider the reports of the Expert Groups.
- h) approve a report of audited accounts and finances presented by the Honorary Treasurer and consider the report of the Finance Commission.
- i) consider a report on the activities of the Secretariat.
- j) adopt a budget plan for the following year and the framework for a three years’ budget.
- k) decide on motions for activities of the European Federation of Journalists. Member unions and associations with voting rights and the Steering Committee have the right to submit motions. Motions from member unions and associations must be submitted to the Steering Committee at least one month before the GM and shall be sent to member unions and associations at least two weeks before the GM.
- l) decide on motions for changes of the rules of the European Federation of Journalists. These motions must be submitted to the Steering Committee at least two months before the GM and shall be sent to member unions and associations at least one month before the GM. To be adopted they must be accepted with the approval of at least two-thirds of the voting delegates present. New rules shall be promulgated by the Steering Committee no later than three months after the conclusion of the GM.
- m) adopt the working programme of the EFJ.
- n) decide on the establishment of expert groups.
- o) decide on membership fees for EFJ member unions and associations for the next three- years period.
- p) elect the President and Vice-President.
- q) elect the other members of the Steering Committee.
- r) elect up to four reserves for the Steering Committee.
- s) elect the members of the Finance Commission.
- t) revoke the mandate of Steering Committee members if required, as set out in articles 8 and 9.
Member unions and associations which would like to host a General or Annual Meeting must submit their invitation including information on transport, facilities, costs, conditions and sponsors 6 months in advance of the meeting to the Steering Committee.
Between the General Meetings, there shall be Annual Meetings (AM), which shall focus on a subject in line with the priorities of work of the EFJ.
The AM shall be composed of one delegate from each member union or association who shall have the right to vote and the members of the Steering Committee. The IFJ President and IFJ Executive Committee members elected from Europe shall have the right to participate. Each member union or association has the right to send observers from their union. The Steering Committee, on the proposal of member unions of the EFJ, can invite guests from the ETUC and other national and international organisations, as well as the IFJ member unions.
The working language of the AM shall be English, French and German.
The AM is prepared by the Steering Committee in cooperation with the EFJ secretariat. The invitation and draft agenda have to be sent to member unions and associations at least two months before the AM.
In a statutory part, the AM shall:
- a) elect a Presidium to chair the AM and a motions’ commission.
- b) confirm the agenda and the voting rights of the unions and associations.
- c) add urgent points to the agenda only with the approval of at least two-thirds of the voting delegates present.
- d) approve the minutes of the last GM resp. of the last AM.
- e) approve the report of the Steering Committee, which will be presented by the President.
- f) consider the reports of the Expert Groups.
- g) consider a report on the activities of the Secretariat.
- h) approve a report of audited accounts and finances presented by the Honorary Treasurer and consider the report of the Finance Commission.
- i) adopt a budget plan for the following year.
- j) decide on motions. Member unions and associations with voting rights and the Steering Committee have the right to submit motions which are of journalists’ and journalists’ unions and associations’ interest in Europe. They must be submitted to the Steering Committee at least one month before the AM and shall be sent to member unions and associations at least two weeks before the AM. The voting system shall be the same as the voting system at the EFJ General Meeting. Urgent motions can be submitted until the opening of the AM and must be accepted with the approval of at least two-thirds of the voting delegates present. Motions at the Annual Meeting cannot deal with EFJ rules.
- k) revoke the mandate of Steering Committee members if required as set out in articles 8 and 9.
Article 9. Steering Committee and Administrative Committee
The Steering Committee is the administration body of the European Federation of Journalists and the working body which shall be responsible for the co-ordination and supervision of the European Federation’s activities. It shall propose a working program to the GM and shall be responsible for the execution of the GM and AM decisions. The coordination includes the work of the IFJ Project Division, as far as Europe is concerned.
The Steering Committee has nine members and a mandate of three years. They shall be elected by the GM. They can be reelected to the Steering Committee for a maximum of two additional periods. Vacancies in membership of the Steering Committee will be filled by the reserves in the order of votes received at the last GM. If a member of the Steering Committee fails to attend half of the meetings within a year without good reasons, his/her mandate can be revoked and he/she can be replaced by a reserve.
Member unions and associations have the right to propose delegates or observers for the list of candidates. No union or association and no country may have more than one representative in the Steering Committee. The list of candidates will be closed one month before the GM and circulated among member unions and associations three weeks before the GM. It can be reopened by the opening of the GM if a qualified majority of two-thirds of the delegates decide it. All candidates must be registered as delegates or observers and must have a written mandate from their home union or association which commits to pay the expenses connected to the function.
The members of the Steering Committee and the reserves shall be elected by secret ballot (see 15. a). The elected reserves will have the same rights and obligations as the full members of the Steering Committee (copy of the convocations and agendas as well as the working documents of the Steering Committee). They ill be convoked in the absence of a full member of the Steering Committee in the order of votes obtained at the elections.
The Steering Committee must have a minimum of six elected members or reserves to constitute a quorum at any committee meeting. If a vote is required on any matter, a simple majority of votes by members will decide in favor or against. In the event of an equal number of votes being recorded, the chair of the meeting will be allowed a casting vote.
The Steering Committee members failing to fulfill their obligations as provided in article 9 or for other reasons can have their mandate revoked by a two-third majority of the next GM or AM, on a motivated proposition by the Steering Committee.
The Steering Committee elects a Honorary Treasurer from its members.
The IFJ President and IFJ Executive Committee members elected from Europe shall have the right to participate in the meetings of the Steering Committee without the right to vote.
The working language of the Steering Committee shall be English.
The EFJ President is the leading political representative of the EFJ. He/She cares for the execution of the Federation’s rules and decisions. He/She represents the Federation externally, and in consultation with the secretariat, convenes the meetings of the Steering Committee and chairs them.
The EFJ Vice-President assists the President in his/her duties and replaces the President when he/she is not available.
In the event of the Vice-President leaving the Steering Committee during the three-year elected period, members of the Steering Committee will elect a new Vice-President from among remaining members of the Committee. The period of office will end at the same time that all elections are held for the new Steering Committee.
The Honorary Treasurer supervises the financial developments of the EFJ and reports to the Steering Committee, the General Meeting and the Annual Meeting.
The President, Vice-President and Honorary Treasurer form the Administrative Committee of the EFJ. In conjunction with the secretariat they prepare agendas for EFJ Steering Committee meetings. In the event of matters of urgency they are responsible for making decisions which should be reported to SC members as soon as possible. They represent the EFJ towards third parties and have the power to represent the EFJ in legal matters.
Article 10. Finance Commission
The objective of the Finance Commission is to review the EFJ accounts. The Finance Commission must report to the General Meetings and give status reports to the Annual Meetings.
The Finance Commission consists of three lay auditors. None of them belong to any other elected body of the EFJ
Article 11. The General Secretary and the Secretariat
The General Secretary is appointed by the Steering Committee. He/ She is a member of the Steering Committee without voting right.
Staff are appointed by the General Secretary subject to the endorsement of the Steering Committee. Staff are responsible to the General Secretary and have the right to participate in meetings of the Steering Committee, the GM and AM without voting rights.
Article 12. Expert groups
EFJ-Expert Groups are working bodies of the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee appoints its members and decides on the aims and objectives of the work. The Expert Groups are open to experts from outside Europe.
Members must be experts proposed by member unions and associations which commit to pay the expenses connected to the function.
The Expert Groups work by mandate and must give a report of their work to the Steering Committee at least twice a year. They also report to the General Meeting and the Annual Meeting. The Expert Groups shall, in cooperation with the European office make relevant information available on the IFJ/EFJ-websites. The working language of the expert groups is chosen by the members of each expert group and is German, English, or French.
Article 13. Finances
The activities of the EFJ will be financed through the EFJ membership fees, IFJ contribution, and other sources. The financial year of the EFJ shall be from January 1 to December 31.
Member unions and associations shall pay fees according to the decision of the GM. The fees shall be paid by April 30 each year. Member unions and associations admitted to the EFJ during a year shall pay fees for that year on a pro rata calculation for the unexpired period of the year.
Activities in line with the EFJ working program, the GM and the AM can – in coordination with the Steering Committee and the IFJ Executive Committee – be executed and financed by the IFJ Project Division
Unions and associations failing to pay their fees or failing to seek exonerations or special arrangements with the Steering Committee, shall have their membership terminated by the GM. They will be accepted back into the European Federation of Journalists on payment of fees owed.
Article 14. Miscellaneous
Matters not provided for in these Rules shall be decided by General Meetings or, if they arise between General Meetings, by the Annual Meetings.
These Rules, which are framed and interpreted according to the conditions and circumstances set out in the Belgian law of June, 27th, 1921 (Title III), shall at all times be interpreted and applied in a manner which avoids undue technicality and which best maintains and promotes the character and objects of the Federation.
Modifications to the Rules shall be submitted for Royal Assent and published in annexes to the Moniteur Belge in accordance with Belgian law.
Article 15. Financial year
The Association’s financial year coincides with the calendar year.
Article 16. Annual accounts and budget
Each year, the Board of Directors, hereinafter referred to as the Steering Committee, shall draw up the draft annual accounts for the previous financial year and the budget for the current financial year.
The currency of the Association shall be the euro for the annual accounts and for all other official accounting, tax and legal documents.
The draft annual accounts and budget shall be communicated to all members at least fifteen (15) calendar days before the Annual/General Meeting.
Article 17. Statutory auditor
If required by law, the General Meeting shall appoint a statutory auditor from among the members of the “Institut des réviseurs d’entreprises”. If the law does not require such an appointment, the General Meeting may still decide to appoint a statutory auditor.
The auditor will draw up a draft audit report on the Association’s annual accounts, which will be submitted to the General/Annual Meeting.
Article 18. Dissolution
The Association may be dissolved at any time by a decision of the General Meeting (GM) taken under the same conditions as those laid down for a change in the Association’s object or charitable purpose. Any reporting obligations that may apply in accordance with the law will be complied with in this case.
Article 19. Liquidators
In the event of dissolution of the Association, for whatever reason and at whatever time, the directors in office shall be appointed as liquidators under these Articles of Association if no other liquidator has been appointed, without prejudice to the right of the General Meeting to appoint one or more liquidators and to determine their powers and emoluments.
Article 20. Allocation of net assets
In the event of dissolution and liquidation, the Extraordinary General Meeting shall decide on the allocation of the Association’s assets, which must in any event be used for a disinterested purpose.
This allocation is made after all debts, charges and liquidation costs have been settled or after the amounts required for this purpose have been deposited and after the members’ contributions have been returned.
Article 21. Financial year
The financial year begins on 1 January and ends on 31 December of each year.
On the latter date, the Association’s accounts are closed and the Board of Directors, referred to above as the Steering Committee, draws up the annual accounts in accordance with the applicable legal provisions. The Board of Directors, referred to above as the Steering Committee, also draws up a proposed budget for the following financial year.
The Board of Directors, referred to above as the Steering Committee, submits the annual accounts for the previous financial year and the proposed budget for the following financial year to the Annual/General Meeting
Article 22. Applicable law
These Articles of Association and the interpretation of their provisions are governed by Belgian law.
For all matters not expressly regulated in these Rules or the internal rules in force, Belgian law shall apply, including the Belgian Code of Companies and Associations.
Article 23. Jurisdiction
All disputes arising out of, or in connection with, these Internal Rules shall be finally and exclusively settled by the courts of Brussels.
Adopted in Bergamo, 15-17 June, 2012. Modified in Sarajevo, 25-26 April, 2016. Modified in Tallinn, 9-10 May, 2019. Modified in Izmir, 13-14 June, 2022. These statutes were brought into line with the Belgian law of 23 March 2019 introducing the Companies and Associations Code by a notarial deed executed with the notary Raphaël de Vuyst on 29 December 2023.