Statutes of the
EUROPEAN FORUM OF NATIONAL LAITY COMMITTEES (ELF)
Name, Legal Status, Seat Article 1
The European Forum of National Laity Committees (hereafter referred to as the “Forum”) is an association for the promotion of the Christian vocation in the world according to can. 215 CIC. The Forum is an instrument of collaboration between the National Committees and Councils of the Catholic Laity in European countries (hereafter referred to as “National Committees”). It has no authority to give directions to National Committees. It considers itself, however, as an advocate for the European Laity, especially in relation to church, civil and political institutions at European level.
The legal body of the Forum is the ELF e.V., registered at the Amtsgericht Bonn.
Purpose and Activities
1. The Forum intends to promote the mutual exchange of experiences and information between its members on questions of European importance. Especially issues concerning the Church’s mission in the world, pastoral work and the promotion of Christian values are emphasized in the relations.
2. In order to realize that purpose the following activities are used:
National Committees having the approval of their episcopate are eligible as members of the Forum.
The Presidents’ Council is entitled to decide that this condition has been met and to admit those National Committees which request membership.
A National Committee can lose membership of the Forum by dissolution, resignation or exclusion. Dissolution or resignation operates without delay. Exclusion can only be decided by the Presidents’ Council, ruling by a two-thirds majority of the members present.
Reasons for exclusion are:
– lack of preconditions for eligibility according to article 3
– refusal to pay the membership fees for more than two years
The bodies of the Forum are the Presidents’ Council, the Statutory Assembly, the Steering Committee and the President.
The Presidents’ Council meets at least once a year. In between, it works by e-mail or other means of communication. Votes taken outside formal meetings by oral or internet means must be confirmed in written form afterwards.
The draft agenda for the Presidents’ Council is circulated at least one month beforehand. Within two weeks of receiving the draft agenda, Presidents of National Committees may forward to the President items to be included in the agenda; the supplemented agenda must be available at the beginning of the meeting.
The Presidents’ Council may invite to meetings any person whose duties or expertise seems to be of value.
The Statutory Assembly is the topmost body and is composed of the delegations of the National Committees who are members of the Forum.
Each delegation has three votes. The right to vote depends on the payment of the membership fee to the “Europaisches Laienforum (ELF) e. V.”.
The following persons may be invited as observers:
The Statutory Assembly meets at least once every two years. It is convoked by the President, in special cases upon request by five National Presidents.
The draft agenda for the meeting is circulated by the Steering Committee at least three months beforehand. Within one month of receiving the draft agenda, National Presidents may forward to the Steering Committee items to be included in the agenda, which shall be circulated at least one month before the meeting.
The Statutory Assembly can only deal with items on its agenda, as agreed at the beginning of its meeting. If a National Committee’s delegation wishes to put forward a motion concerning an item which is not on the draft agenda, it must introduce it before the beginning of the meeting in a written text to the President, duly signed by delegates of at least three delegations.
Decisions are taken by an absolute majority of votes cast. In the case of a tie, after further discussion a second vote is taken. In case of a further tie, the motion is rejected.
Voting is done by show of hands unless a secret ballot is requested by a delegate or for issues of a personal nature.
The President is elected by the Statutory Assembly for a four-year mandate, renewable once.
If he/she must publish a statement during the time between the meetings of the decision-making bodies, he/she must at least contact the Steering Committee by letter, telephone or e-mail.
The President chairs the Study Assembly and the meetings of the bodies of the Forum. With the agreement of the body concerned, he/she can delegate the chair of a meeting.
Members of the Steering Committee are the President, the Secretary and up to five other members elected by the Presidents’ Council. The members (except the President) are elected from among the delegations of the Forum members for a four-year mandate, renewable once. After standing down for a period of two years, they may be elected again.
The Steering Committee can – for particular purposes – invite members from among participants of the previous Statutory Assembly or from among persons in charge of National Committees who are members of the Forum.
If a member of the Steering Committee is no more able or willing to exercise his/her mandate, the Steering Committee proposes a candidate for election by the Presidents of the National Committees until the next meeting of the Presidents’ Council.
The Steering Committee generally meets three times a year. In between, it works by e-mail or by other means of communication.
In order to promote dialogue and discussion between the National Committees, Study Assemblies shall be organised at least every two years.
National Committees and invited laity committees from other countries can delegate up to five persons to the Study Assemblies. Persons named in article 16 can be invited as observers.
Studies can be delegated or contracted and external experts can be called to cooperate. Before being published in the name of the Forum, resulting documents, motions or letters must be approved by the decision-taking bodies of the Forum.
If a resolution or motion is to be voted by the Statutory Assembly or the Presidents’ Council, the body can create a Resolution Commission, which, in the spirit which governed the vote and in dialogue with the Steering Committee, establishes the final version of the text and supervises the translations.
Languages of the Forum
Simultaneous translation will be provided between the three Forum working languages at least for plenary sessions of the Statutory and Study Assemblies.
Proposed amendments to the Statutes can be presented by a National Committee in writing to the Steering Committee, which in turn informs the Statutory Assembly, along with its opinion on the proposals. The Presidents must have been informed at least three months before the date of the Statutory Assembly.
This version of the Statutes was approved at Vienna/Austria on July 2nd, 2012.
It supersedes all previous versions of statutes and standing orders.
The association “Europaisches Laienforum e.V.” has its legal seat at Bonn.
The language considered the norm is German.
(1) The purpose of the organisation is:
– promoting the Christian vocation in the world by
– maintaining contacts and enhancing co-operation among catholic lay organisations in
(2) To this purpose it is the body legally and financially responsible for ELF and is especially
charged with procuring and administering the financial means of ELF.
(3) The ELF e.V. is bound to the political decisions of ELF.
(1) The association exclusively and directly aims at non-profit purposes in terms of the
paragraph on “tax-privileged purposes” of the tax code.
(2) The association works in a selfless manner; it does not primarily pursue own economic
aims. Means of the association may only be used for the purposes laid down in the
constitution. The members do not receive allocations out of the financial resources of the
(3) No person must benefit from expenses deviating from the purpose of the association or by
unproportionally high reimbursements.
(1) National laity committees having the approval of their bishop’s conference are eligible as
members of the association. The admission of members is granted by the General Assembly
on the proposal of the Executive Board.
(2) A national laity committee can lose membership by dissolution, resignation or exclusion.
(3) Each national laity committee admitted as a member is represented by one delegate in the
The bodies of the association are the Executive Board and the General Assembly.
(1) The Executive Board consists of the President and two Vice-presidents. The Treasurer
takes part in an advisory function.
(2) The President jointly with one of the two Vice-presidents or the two Vice-presidents
jointly constitute the Presidency according to § 26, Par. (2) BGB. Its term of office lasts for
four years. The members of the Executive Board can be relieved from office by the General
Assembly before that time.
(3) The Executive Board invites the General Assembly.
(4) The Executive Board implements the decisions of the General Assembly and assumes the
internal and external representation of the Association.
(1) The General Assembly consists of the delegates of the national laity committees, the
Presidency and the Treasurer.
(2) The General Assembly elects the Executive Board. It can relieve it from office and
decides on the exoneration of the Executive Board as well as on the exclusion of a member. It
can dissolve the association.
(3) It elects a Treasurer for a term of four years.
(3) It approves of the annual budget.
(4) It elects an auditor for a term of four years.
(5) The regular General Assembly takes place once a year. It is summoned at least one month
in advance in written form containing the agenda.
(6) An extraordinary General Assembly has to be summoned on the written request of at least
20 % of the members.
(7) The regular General Assembly constitutes a quorum, if the meeting was summoned
according to the constitution and if at least 50 % of the members are present (either in person
or by written authorization).
(8) The extraordinary General Assembly constitutes a quorum, if at least 50 % of the
members are present.
(9) The members can represent other members in the General Assembly if authorized in
written form. Each delegate eligible to vote can only represent one other delegate.
(10) The General Assembly takes its decisions by an absolute majority of the members
present at the assembly or represented by written authorization.
(11) In order to exclude a member a two-thirds majority of the members present is required.
(12) For the dissolution of the association as well as for changes of the constitution an
absolute majority of all members is required.
(1) The revenues of the association comprise membership fees, donations, grants and
contributions from legal persons and individuals.
(2) For the purpose of building reserves the revenues may exceed the expenses.
(3) The financial year of the association is identical with the calendar year. At the end of the
financial year the accounts must be closed and a balance sheet must be drawn up.
(4) The account books are duly controlled by the auditor.
(1) In the event of the dissolution of or the cessation of the tax-privileged purpose, the
property of the association falls to a juridical person of public law or another tax-privileged
body, which has to use it for organising conferences or political lobbying concerning
(2) For questions not regulated by this constitution the civil law must be applied.
Approved by the General Assembly at Freising on June 4th, 2011, amended by the General
Assembly at Minsk on October 26th, 2011 and at Vienna on February 9th, 2012
Registered as an association at the district court of Bonn at Nr. 9469 on November 11th, 2011
© 2021 European Forum of National Laity Committees. All Rights Reserved.