ELF - Statutes

Statutes of the

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

Article 2
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:

  • Maintaining contacts and enhancing co-operation with
    • a) the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE), the Commission of the European Bishops’ Conferences (ComECE),
    • b) other Church institutions at European level,
    • c) civil and political institutions on the European level,
    • d) lay organisations of other Christian traditions as  well as European ecumenical movements,
    • e) the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
  • Drawing up and addressing analyses or motions to European and national civil and political institutions and the public in order to promote Christian values
  • Organising conferences
  • Inducing studies on present day problems in the Church and in the world


Article 3
National Committees having the approval of their episcopate are eligible as members of the Forum.

Article 4
The Presidents’ Council is entitled to decide that this condition has been met and to admit those National Committees which request membership.

Article 5
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


Article 6
The bodies of the Forum are the Presidents’ Council, the Statutory Assembly, the Steering Committee and the President.

Presidents’ Council

Article 7

  • Members of the Presidents’ Council are the President of the Forum and the presidents of the National Committees which are members of the Forum.
  • A National President can delegate his/her membership, permanently or occasionally, to another member of his/her National Committee.
  • The members of the Steering Committee take part in the Presidents’ Council in an advisory capacity, if they are no delegates.

Article 8

  • The Presidents’ Council sets the aims of the Forum’s work between the meetings of the Statutory Assembly along the lines determined by it.
  • It elects the Steering Committee (except the President).

Article 9
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.

Article 10
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.

Article 11

  • The Presidents’ Council takes its decisions by an absolute majority of its members present or represented by written authority. 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 member or for issues of a personal nature.
  • In deliberations by mail, decisions are taken by an absolute majority of all members of the Presidents’ Council.

Article 12
The Presidents’ Council may invite to meetings any person whose duties or expertise seems to be of value.

Statutory Assembly 

Article 13
The Statutory Assembly is the topmost body and is composed of the delegations of the National Committees who are members of the Forum.

Article 14
Each delegation has three votes. The right to vote depends on the payment of the membership fee to the “Europaisches Laienforum (ELF) e. V.”.

Article 15

  • The Statutory Assembly sets the general orientations as well as the aims and missions of the Forum.
  • It amends the Statutes of the European Laity Forum by an absolute majority of the delegates present.
  • It decrees the dissolution of the Forum. A two-thirds majority of the votes of all the members is required for that decision.
  • It determines the membership fees which must be paid to the ELF e.V..

Article 16
The following persons may be invited as observers:

  • representatives of the CEEC and the ComECE;
  • representatives of organisations of the Church at European level;
  • representatives of the Pontifical Council for the Laity;
  • representatives of the laity of European countries not represented in the Forum;
  • ecumenical observers;
  • other persons who can make specific contributions to the work of the Forum.

Article 17
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.

Article 18
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.

Article 19
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.

Article 20
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.


Article 21
The President is elected by the Statutory Assembly for a four-year mandate, renewable once.

Article 22

  • The President induces activities of the Forum and coordinates them.
  • He/She is responsible for the functioning of the Forum bodies in cooperation with the Steering Committee.
  • He/She proposes initiatives in close connection with the other decision-taking bodies.
  • Implementing their decisions he/she represents the Forum.

Article 23
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.

Article 24
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.

Steering Committee

Article 25
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.

Article 26

  • The Steering Committee is the executive body of the Forum and is responsible to the Statutory Assembly.
  • It takes part in the President’s mission of animation and coordination.
  • It deals with current affairs, prepares the Study Assemblies and the meetings of the other bodies and takes part in them in an advisory function, if its members are no delegates.

Article 27
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.

Article 28
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.

Article 29
The Steering Committee generally meets three times a year. In between, it works by e-mail or by other means of communication.

Article 30

  • Unless other dispositions are agreed upon with the National Committee involved, the National Committee to which the Secretary belongs is responsible for the Forum Secretariat.
  • The Secretary sees to it that the participants are informed about the decisions taken as soon as possible and in the appropriate languages.

Study Assembly

Article 31
In order to promote dialogue and discussion between the National Committees, Study Assemblies shall be organised at least every two years.

Article 32
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.

Article 33
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.

Resolution Commission

Article 34
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

Article 35

  • The official languages of the Forum are English, French and German. The Steering Committee will ensure that all communications and documents intended for the Statutory Assemblies and Study Assemblies are competently translated into these languages and circulated with minimum delay.
  • The Presidents’ Council’s and Steering Committee’s own documents are circulated in one of the Forum’s languages upon which they agree.

Article 36
Simultaneous translation will be provided between the three Forum working languages at least for plenary sessions of the Statutory and Study Assemblies.


Article 37
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.

§ 1

The association “Europaisches Laienforum e.V.” has its legal seat at Bonn.
The language considered the norm is German.

§ 2

(1) The purpose of the organisation is:
– promoting the Christian vocation in the world by

  • lobbying with social, political and ecclesiastical institutions on the European level for the purposes of Christian values
  • organising conferences and initiating studies on social problems considering Christian values

– maintaining contacts and enhancing co-operation among catholic lay organisations in
Europe by

  • mutual exchange of experiences and information on questions of European importance between the members of the European Laity Forum
  • organising conferences on topical problems concerning Christian responsibility for the world
  • organising presidents’ councils of national lay organisations for information about national activities and coordinating common statements.

(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.

§ 3

(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.

§ 4

(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.

  • Dissolution of a national committee effects loss of membership without delay.
  • Resignation can be declared in written form at any time and operates without delay.
  • Exclusion ca be only decreed by the General assembly, ruling at a two-thirds majority, if the duties laid down in the constitution are violated and/or activities detrimental to the interests, the reputation and the rights of the association are set.
  • Membership of a national committee ends if the membership fees have not been paid for two years.

(3) Each national laity committee admitted as a member is represented by one delegate in the
General Assembly.

§ 5

The bodies of the association are the Executive Board and the General Assembly.

§ 6

(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.

§ 7

(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.

§ 8

(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.

§ 9

(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
Christian values.
(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

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