DiEM25 Organising Principles - approved on 2016-09-13,
last updated on 2017-11-07

Preface

DiEM25 has a single purpose: To promote the principles and values embodied in its Manifesto on the basis of participatory, open-source, democratic actions by members drawn to DiEM25 for this purpose.

The Organising Principles proposed below aim at helping organise DiEM25’s work and activities in a manner consistent with DiEM25’s purpose. True to DiEM25’s commitment to unifying democrats across borders, cultures, movements, and political party affiliations, we are avoiding a federal structure and minimising centralisation in the running of DiEM25’s activities. To this effect, we propose:

  • A single Coordinating Collective to coordinate all of DiEM25’s actions

  • An Advisory Panel

  • The Validating Council

  • The already instituted DiEM25 Spontaneous Collectives that act at the local, municipal and national levels

Lastly, to give DiEM25 the necessary legal status, DiEM25 was set up as an International Organisation in Brussels, under Belgian and European Union law, so that it has legal standing throughout the EU without the need to establish DiEM25 as an NGO in 28 different member-states. The relationship between DiEM25’s Organising Principles herein and DiEM25’s official constitution (under Belgian Law – see Appendix) is discussed in section 7 below.

N.B. This document contains legal information. In case of inconsistency or conflict between versions of the document, the English version shall prevail over any translation.

Table of Contents

  1. Coordinating Collective (CC)

  2. Advisory Panel (AP)

  3. All-members votes

  4. Validating Council (VC)

  5. DiEM25 Spontaneous Collectives (DSCs)

  6. Municipal, Regional or National Collectives (MCs, RCs & NCs)

  7. DiEM25 Progressive Agenda for Europe: Assemblies-Policy Papers

  8. Amendment Process for Manifesto and Organising Principles

  9. Financial governance and legal structure (International Association)

1. Coordinating Collective (CC)

At the beginning, DiEM25 was put together spontaneously by initiators who conjured up, together and haphazardly, the idea of a pan-European association aiming at creating a movement for, simultaneously, democratising Europe in general and the European Union institutions in particular, enhancing democratic sovereignty at the local, city, regional and national levels. The time has come, however, to formalise this group that has been, since DiEM25’s inauguration on February 9, 2016, steering its activities into a Coordinating Collective.

The proposed Coordinating Collective (hereafter ‘CC’) will not act as some central committee that makes policy. Instead,

  • The CC will coordinate all activities (e.g. Events, Assemblies, Campaigns) that have been proposed by the Advisors’ Panel, members, DSCs, or by DiEM25’s Validating Council.

  • The CC will act quickly in response to events that require a rapid DiEM25 response (e.g. the press release after the attacks in Paris or Brussels), always seeking ex-post approval from the Validating Council.

  • The CC will recommend to the Validating Council disciplinary action against members who have grossly violated DiEM25’s principles and/or Manifesto.

  • The CC will comprise twelve members, to be elected/selected in the manner described below.

  • DiEM25 is a feminist movement promoting gender balance in all its bodies, including the CC.

  • No individuals in public office or holding positions of major responsibility within a political party (e.g. sitting on its national executive or leadership board) can sit on the CC.

  • CC members will have their DiEM25-related expenses recompensed and receive remuneration in a manner consistent with DiEM25’s finances, priorities and principles.

  • The CC will be assisted by several Coordinators (e.g. Coordinator of the Communications Team, Coordinator of DiEM25 Volunteers, Coordinator of Finance and Accounts, Coordinator of DiEM25’s Art Team, Secretarial Coordinator etc.) These appointments will be made by the CC on a full time or part time basis and will be remunerated in a manner consistent with DiEM25’s finances, priorities and principles. Coordinators will sit on the CC ex officio.

  • The CC will meet once a week (mostly but not exclusively through teleconference) and will be chaired on the basis of a rota system that ensures a high frequency rotation of the chair (ensuring rotation at least once every three months). No provision is made for a Secretary General or President.

Election/Selection of the CC

At first, the initiators who were behind DiEM25’s creation in February 2016 and who have been, de facto, working on organisational matters on a daily basis will propose to DiEM25 the first twelve members to sit on the CC. DiEM25 members will vote, using DiEM25’s digital voting platform, to approve or not this first CC. Within twelve months of the formation of the first CC, six CC positions will be put up for election. And then a year later, the remaining six positions will also be openly contested. In this manner, every year half of the seats on CC will be renewed through an election.

  • Elections to the CC will be conducted electronically, using the digital platform under development.

  • All DiEM25 members will be eligible to vote as long as they have been members for a minimum period (to be agreed by the CC with the approval of the Validating Council). This minimum period serves to prevent rogue registrations prior to an important vote by people who have no interest in promoting DiEM25’s aims but seek to influence its decisions.

  • All DiEM25 members are eligible to stand for the CC except serving politicians who hold elected office in national parliaments, in the European Parliament, serve as ministers of state in national governments or on the national leadership/executive of national parties (membership of political parties, including serving on regional or lower level political party committees, is not included in this provision).

  • As in every election six CC places are contested, each DiEM25 member will be able to vote for up to six candidates from a single list of candidates. There is no requirement to be nominated by a minimum number of members and all candidates will be given equal space on DiEM25.org to present their candidature.

  • There will be no term limits for membership of the CC.

  • CC members who are incapacitated, terminated (following a recommendation of the CC’s majority that has been validated by the VC) or who resign will be automatically replaced by the runner-up in the election round during which they were elected.

2. Advisory Panel (AP)

From its inception, DiEM25 has attracted some well-known, influential personalities from across the globe: artists and film-makers, economists and intellectuals, writers and activists. They have been helping ‘curate’ DiEM25’s thinking, events and campaigns from the very beginning. It is, therefore, proposed that they become acknowledged as a group. Thus, the Advisory Panel.

Advisors sitting on the Advisory Panel will, naturally, advise DiEM25 and facilitate the implementation of its aims. Just like all DiEM25 members, they will have the opportunity to propose actions, campaigns etc. to the Coordinating Collective (CC) as well as to DiEM25 at large. They can recommend changes to the Manifesto or to DiEM25’s governance, including the nomination of potential CC members. Of course any such changes must go through the amendment process that involves the whole of DiEM25’s membership – see Section 5 below.

As for nominations of new Advisors, any DiEM25 member can make suggestions to the CC which then puts these proposals up for approval by the Validating Council.

3. All-member votes

DiEM25 strives to promote participatory democracy in the formulation of its policies and practices. Policies at all levels (local, regional, national and pan-European) are approved in all-member votes. Even when a policy concerns a local or national issue, all members (across Europe) must approve it by means of an all-member vote. This transnational approach is central to DiEM25’s raison d’être.

Policies that concern one of the pillars of the Progressive Agenda will be developed & voted in line with the Progressive Agenda section of the Organising Principles. Other policies, such as DiEM25’s stance on any election or referendum or issue that does not fit into one of the pillars1 and is not obvious from the Manifesto, are decided in the following manner:

1. Policy proposals can emerge either directly from the Coordinating Collective (CC) or from groups of DiEM25 members that table a proposed policy with the CC. In the latter case, the CC must decide whether the movement has an interest in considering this proposal.

2. The issue must be put out to the membership for consultation and discussion.

3. Following this deliberation, the various responses must be collected and synthesised into one or more policy options/proposals that are then put to an all-member vote. If no one proposal is supported by 50% of the voting members plus one, then a run-off vote is organised between the two more preferred proposals.

As all-member votes normally run for 7 days and require at least another week in preparation time, urgent issues may be submitted to a Validating Council vote instead.


1 Issues explicitly excluded are those that would compell any of DiEM25’s organs to meet at a certain place or time or in a certain manner, or to coerce them to work on a particular campaign. 

4. Validating Council (VC)

Some decisions transcend the CC’s coordination role. E.g. a hastily drawn up press release (in response to some extraordinary event) may need the validation of the membership, proposals for new members of the Advisory Panel, or for expulsion of members who violated the principles of the Manifesto. These are not decisions to be taken by the CC as they require broader consent and validation.

As these decisions will need to be validated quickly, it will not be possible to mobilise the whole DiEM25 membership to vote within a tight deadline. For this purpose, and so as to give incentives to members to consider themselves permanently engaged in DiEM25 activities, a Validating Council (hereafter ‘VC’) is instituted to be selected as follows:

  • The VC comprises 100 DiEM25 members.

  • Any DiEM25 member that wants to be a VC sitting member puts her or his nomination forward, via the website.

  • Selection is by sortation: A simple algorithm selects randomly from all the nominees 100 candidates who automatically acquire the status of VC member.

  • The algorithm has only one internal constraint: half of the 100 members will be women and the other half men (with a provision for members who choose to declare their gender as ‘other’, in which case they are apportioned to one of the two with a probability of 50-50).

  • The first VC members’ tenure lasts for six months. After the first six months, half (50) of the VC members are replaced (again by a random draw among members who declared their interest in becoming VC members). A fresh draw takes place every three months, ensuring that each VC member has a tenure of six months (except the inaugural VC members who serve longer) and that half of the VC membership is refreshed every three months.

  • The VC is not a body supervising the CC and does not meet independently. The VC’s remit is to validate, with a Yes or a No, proposals put to the VC by the CC.

  • VC decisions are made by simple majority within specified time limits.

  • The VC meets digitally, on a special page of DiEM25.org, and votes by means of DiEM25’s tailor-made voting platform.

  • There will be no quorum but the CC is responsible for having made available to all VC members, on each issue and in as timely a manner as circumstances permit, all information relevant to the VC’s decision. VC members are not remunerated as their work should not take much time.

The decisions that VC members will be called to make include those pertaining to:

  • Approval of new Advisors

  • Validation of decisions that go beyond the coordination role of the CC

  • Expulsion of members that violate the spirit of the Manifesto

  • Resolution of disputes at local, national or European level, at the recommendation of the CC

  • Overseeing and validating any process for amending the Manifesto and/or the Organising Principles

The VC will not replace internal referenda but will help the CC by validating decisions that need to be made quickly. Indeed, all members will be consulted on most issues that are not pressing time-wise (e.g., changes to the Organising Principles, the Manifesto, membership of CC, or the content of policy papers).

5. DiEM25 Spontaneous Collectives (DSCs)

The idea of DiEM25’s Spontaneous Collectives reflects the ideas or practices of self-management and cooperatives, the Scottish Enlightenment’s notion of ‘spontaneous order’, as well as, Rick Falkvinge’s ‘swarms’, etc.

DiEM25 seeks to combine self-organisation (i.e. spontaneously occurring horizontal structures) with the vertical integration provided by the CC, the VC and the municipal/regional/national collectives. DSCs embody the movement’s self-organising dimension. Any DiEM25 members who wish to coalesce in pursuit of DiEM25’s objectives and Manifesto principles can form a DSC with minimal constraints.

DSCs are self-governing, with no need to validate their actions from the CC. Each DSC elects one or two coordinators, ideally male and female, who will be responsible for maintaining communication between DiEM25 at large, the other DSCs, the CC and the specific DSC.

To remain effective and flexible, DSCs are envisaged to comprise 5 to 15 active members only. When a DSC reaches 16 active members, it is strongly encouraged to form a second DSC which meets in a different part of town or which works on a different issue, in order to maintain the agility of small, self-organised groups in which everyone can speak and contribute. No DSC can contain more than 50 active members.

Two types of DSCs are envisaged: (i) Local DSCs, founded on the basis of geographical proximity. And (ii) Thematic DSCs, based on their members’ common interest in the same policy area across Europe. Thematic DSCs may also be geographically specific (e.g. comprising members concerned with the Portuguese education system) or pan-European in scope (e.g. concentrating on climate change issues).

All DSCs must respect the DSC Guidelines in Appendix A.

APPENDIX A: DSC Guidelines

DSCs embody DiEM25’s self-organising dimension. Any DiEM25 members can form a DSC with minimal constraints.

The most important constraint is that DSCs cannot promote causes or values other than those outlined in the DiEM25 Manifesto, the Progressive Agenda and the current DiEM25 campaign(s). To ensure that all DSC actions are in line with the Manifesto, and to manage DiEM25’s public perception, a DSC member cannot publish any texts/images/videos/actions destined for the public on his/her own. He/she has to get at least 5 DiEM25 members’ approval. These 5 can be members of the same DSC, except if a DSC has previously published questionable material.

What can a DSC do?

Essentially anything that will make DiEM25 a success:

  • Spread the ideas of DiEM25 (through media, internet, events, etc.)

  • Develop policy proposals for the local, regional, national or European level

  • Collect policy recommendations from affected people on the ground

  • Engage in hands-on actions to help or educate locals

  • Bring in new members (asking them to register at https://www.diem25.org/)

  • Participate in demonstrations carrying DiEM25 flags, as long as the topic is in line with DiEM25’s ideas

  • Reach out to local NGOs for common actions

  • Organise gatherings, debates, presentations, events, campaigns. In order to refer to these as official DiEM25 events “organised by <DSC name>”, they need to be open to all DiEM25 members in the same local community, town or country.

What can a DSC not do?

  • Engage in illegal activities

  • Promote ideas that violate the spirit of DiEM25’s Manifesto or DiEM25’s ongoing Campaigns

  • Collect or spend money outside of DiEM25’s established system of collecting and spending donations

  • Use DiEM25’s name, logo, platform or organisation for commercial purposes, including selling merchandise and other products or services to DiEM25 members and outsider

  • Promise or show support to other political organisations and political candidates, except if the alliance has approved by the CC. If a majority of DSC members feel that such an alliance is important when the CC disagrees, they can ask the PNC or CC to organise a membership-wide referendum on the matter.

  • Enter contracts on behalf of DiEM25-International or otherwise engage in actions that the international level of the organisation will be held legally responsible for

  • Organise DiEM25 Assemblies (Nb. unlike gatherings or events, Assemblies are to be organised by the CC)

  • Purport to represent whole cities, regions, countries or official policy makers without the approval of DiEM25’s CC. For this purpose, they are assigned names such as DSC London 1, DSC Barcelona 1, etc. so that when other DSCs appear in the same vicinity they can adopt the names DSC London 2, DSC Barcelona 2 etc.

  • To make clear that opinions expressed are those of the particular DSC, and not of DiEM25 for the whole region/country in which the DSC is located, DSCs will use the white background logo for public online posts, while the broader organisation will use the orange/red logo. DSCs will also sign all press releases and other materials with their DSC name or with “DiEM25 Volunteers in …”, so as to distinguish them from messages by elected representatives of DiEM25. (See details on Social Media Rules for DSCs and Volunteers)

How to create a DSC

The up-to-date list of DSCs can always be found at www.diem25.org/local-groups-dscs/ . If there is already a DSC in your city, you are still encouraged to create another one, as each DSC is supposed to have no more than 15 active members. Of course you are encouraged to coordinate informally with the other DSCs in your area or group of DiEM25 members interested in the same theme/policy area.

Principles of successful DSC meetings

Small group discussion is the key element in empowering members. People become more committed through the physical act of speaking. Conversely if people do not speak at all in a meeting or very little, then they become passive and feel disempowered. The primary aim of DSC meetings should be to motivate and empower its members through peer-group activities that build a collective identity and a common political outlook.

DSCs must strive to find answers to the question: What do DiEM25 values and principles mean in practice? How can meetings make participants leave the (physical or digital) room feeling enthused rather than alienated?

DSCs are encouraged to discuss within them, but also across different DSCs, the rules of inclusive engagement so members are aware of them from the beginning, and to avoid having to conjure them up after anti-social and coercive behaviour is observed.

Procedure to create a local DSC

Go to the “Meet Local Members” forum and navigate to the subforum for your country or region. Either create or answer a post about forming a DSC there. Then write an email to volunteer@nulldiem25.org . If you have already had a physical meeting of at least five people, you will receive an official DSC name and listing in the directory, where others can find you. If you haven’t yet had such a meeting, we can help you send a message to all DiEMers in your city in order to jump-start the process.

Procedure to create a thematic DSC: Use the DiEM25 forum or any of the informal fora and gatherings in order to find at least 5 people who are interested in forming a thematic DSC with you. Then, write to thematic@nulldiem25.org in order to receive an official DSC name and be added to the official directory, where others can find you.

Thematic DSCs

Thematic DSCs are founded around particular policy themes or issues. Members that found such a thematic DSC must choose from an approved menu of themes:

  1. Democracy-in-action: Democratic practices in DiEM25 & in Europe (in the context of a future European Democratic Constitution)
  2. A European New Deal for European residents, for migrants & for refugees
  3. Transparency and Technological Sovereignty
  4. Green Transition (Energy, Industry, Transport & Agriculture)
  5. Education
  6. Health
  7. Gender and sexuality

Other themes can/will be added to the list above after suitable proposals are tabled with municipal/regional/national collectives or with the CC. DSCs can additionally indicate a sub-theme in their official listing.

Thematic DSCs meet usually online or, whenever possible, in person in order to discuss policies and activities pertaining to the policy themes or areas that has brought their members together. All the rules and guidelines that apply to local DSCs also apply to thematic DSCs.

Thematic DSCs produce proposals around their theme but do NOT author DiEM25’s policies on that theme, nor can they represent DiEM25 on that theme outside the movement. [Note: As there are many thematic DSCs on the same theme, their views and policy recommendations can and will clash. Such disagreement is essential to the process of formulating policy, as long as Thematic DSCs policy recommendations are seen as what they are: inputs into DiEM25’s internal policy creation process.]

Nomenclature for Thematic DSCs: To distinguish between different Thematic DSCs of the same theme, a randomly-generated number will be assigned to them upon registration. Given that it’s very probable a visitor would confuse a thematic DSC with the official group collating DiEM25’s policy on a particular topic, thematic DSCs are required to add disclaimers of the style “[DSC NAME] is a group of DiEM25 volunteers who aim to forward the movement’s principles, policies and aims.” visibly on all their materials and online presences.

6. Municipal, Regional, or National Collectives (MCs, RCs & NCs)

Beyond the local and thematic work of DSCs, DiEM25 acts at the municipal, regional and national level in a manner that requires organisation transcending the capacity of DSCs – e.g. conducting campaigns at the level of cities, regions or country-wide; staffing a national press office and issuing press releases; organising rallies and putting together policy papers for cities, regions and or countries.

National Collectives

Once the movement has matured in a country, the CC may propose that a National Collective be constituted in order to take over some of the coordinating tasks. The CC’s proposal must then be validated by the VC.

NCs will comprise between 10 and 16 members.

Additionally, NCs may appoint people to help them with specific tasks. These people may participate in NC meetings ex officio.

Initially, a Provisional National Collective will be organised by the CC in consultation with all relevant DSCs, and the initial list of members will be validated by the VC, but, within 12 months of the selection of this Provisional National Collective, elections must be held for the members. Members elected thereafter shall serve a two-year term.

NC elections will be conducted using DiEM25’s voting platform and respecting the movement’s transnational character. This means that ALL DIEM25 members will have the right to participate as voters or candidates in the election of any NC. Naturally, members are encouraged to vote only in NC elections if they are familiar with the candidates and the specific country’s political environment.

In order to ensure that all coordinating functions can be fulfilled by the elected NCs, candidates in the elections will be asked to apply for one of several broad fields (e.g. “Communication / PR / Social Media”, “Members engagement and Organising”, “Events and Logistics”, “Policy development and intelligence”) or as “general” candidates. The fields and distribution of seats will be decided on a per-country basis.

NCs will be granted access to data about members in their country in as much as possible given

applicable national and European data privacy laws, and be enabled to contact them directly.

NCs can sign open letters and participate in national campaigns as long as they inform the CC first.

NCs cannot decide to support or to work with other political actors in its country but can explore possible alliances with political actors. However, any such alliance must be proposed to the CC which will, then, either recommend it to the VC for validation or put the matter to an all-member vote.

All policy papers coordinated by the NC must be, before being adopted, be submitted to the CC. All such policies that the CC approves will require validation by the VC. And whenever the CC objects to any aspect of a policy recommendation by an NC, the CC must put the matter to an all-member vote.

Municipal and Regional Collectives

NCs may appoint, after consultation with local members and DSCs, Municipal & Regional Collectives (MCs and RCs) which coordinate DiEM25’s activities, members and DSCs at the level of towns, cities and regions.

Purpose of MCs/RCs/NCs

Their purpose shall be to:

  • Improve communication of DiEM25 policies and activities at the municipal/regional and country level

  • Communicate members’ views across Europe and to the CC

  • Provide centralised facilities and resources to local members and DSCs

  • Facilitate debates

  • Generate regional and national policies in harmony to DiEM25’s Progressive Agenda for Europe, to be voted as described above

  • Prepare all-member votes

  • Fundraise

  • Link DiEM25 to other political and civic actors, in coordination with the CC

7. DiEM25’s Progressive Agenda for Europe: Assemblies-Policy Papers

DiEM25’s political aim is to put together, from the grassroots upwards, a democratic ‘Progressive Agenda for Europe’ (hereafter ‘PAE’) addressing systematically the six systemic challenges facing the continent. Organisationally, the process of putting together the PAE will play a key role in mobilising members, experts and public opinion in the pursuit of the PAE. The six systemic challenges identified during DiEM25’s Berlin inauguration on February 9, 2016 as the PAE’s main pillars were:

  1. Transparent Europe: Introducing transparent government across Europe

  2. Open Europe: Migration and Refugee Policy

  3. European New Deal: Rationalising Europe’s economy

  4. Working Europe: Labour, technology, employment and the distribution of income, beyond the capital-labour contract, basic income

  5. Green Energy and Technological Sovereignty: Channelling large-scale investment funding to green energy and sustainable practices, securing Europe’s technological sovereignty

  6. Europe’s Constitution: Imagining a democratic pan-European constitution and the process that may lead to it

DiEM25 is committed to developing a fully-fledged Policy Paper for each of the above six issues/challenges by the end of 2017. The CC can, and will, amend this list as developments require. The process by which each Policy Paper will be completed is described below:

Step 1 – DiEM25 compiles a list of questions for each of the six challenges above and calls on its members to convene locally, and in the spirit of self-organisation, to propose particular solutions and policies. We envisage, in addition to our digital Forum, debates in Town Hall meetings, meetings in theatres, cinemas, cultural centres, etc.

Step 2 – All policy recommendations, concerns and suggestions are compiled by a dedicated DiEM25 Expert Committee (one per Policy Paper) with a view to putting together a Policy Paper Proposal that will be submitted to a DiEM25 Assembly – see Step 3

Step 3 – At fixed dates and in fixed cities (one per Policy Paper), a DiEM25 Assembly takes place in which the relevant Proposals are debated and the DiEM25 Policy Paper is finalised.

Step 4 – The DiEM25 Policy Paper is put to a vote of all members using DiEM25’ digital platform.

Amendments to the DiEM25 PAE: The same process applies as in the case of amendments to DiEM25’s Manifesto and Organising Principles.

8. Amendment Process for Manifesto and the Organising Principles

Amendments of the Manifesto and of DiEM25’s Organising Principles must be a carefully designed and implemented process, lest DiEM25’s character and mission are inadvertently damaged.

  1. Proposals for emendations to the Manifesto and to the Organising Principles must be submitted to the CC bearing signatures of 10% of the membership or at least 30 of the 100 members of the VC.

  2. Once submitted to CC, CC undertakes to make a proposal to the VC.

  3. The VC will have an opportunity either to accept the CC’s proposal or send it back to the CC for further refinement – this capacity to return the proposal to the CC can only be exercised once and with a simple majority.

  4. The CC’s proposal, once Step 3 has been completed, will be put to the Membership in an internal DiEM25 Referendum. To be carried, a super-majority of 60% and a minimum 50% participation rate of all eligible members will be necessary.

DiEM25’s Organising Principles will be validated, by the VC, every year. If the VC fails to validate the Organising Principles, the CC will take note of member criticisms of the current Organising Principles and recommend amendments within six months.

9. Financial Governance and Legal Structure (International Association)

Fund raising, membership dues and fund disbursements

DiEM25 membership carries no compulsory fee. Members may be requested to contribute to DiEM25’s finances depending on their capacity. DiEM25 may also seek larger contributions from members and non-members, ensuring maximum transparency standards are in place.

DiEM25’s Coordinator of Finances will report regularly to the CC and all decisions on fundraising and fund acceptance will be validated by the VC.

To ensure both full decentralisation and full transparency in DiEM25’s payments system, DiEM25 will adopt a digital, transparent payments and donations platform that combines the two. For instance, a DSC in Valencia will be able to raise funds locally that will flow into the Brussels bank account while retaining full control, via the DiEM25 digital payments platform, of the funds it collected. The payments platform will be:

  • Fully decentralised, requiring no approval except from the representatives of the DiEM25 unit (e.g. some DSC, the CC, a national DiEM25 Committee) that collected it.

  • Fully transparent, as anyone (even non-DiEM25 members) will be able to visit the site and see who gave monies and how the monies were spent.

DiEM25’s Legal Status as International Association domiciled in Belgium

DiEM25 needs to have a firm legal standing throughout the EU. This is crucial not only to avoid legal complications but also to ensure that our fund raising, and fund disbursement, are fully transparent and beyond reproach – both politically and legally.

To avoid registering DiEM25 in all 28 EU member-states, DiEM25 has been registered in Brussels as an International Non-Profit Making Association (INPMA). A bank account will be attached to this INPMA into which all monies collected throughout the EU will flow, and out of which all payments will be made.

The relationship between DiEM25’s Organising Principles and DiEM25’s official constitution as specified by Belgian Law

Belgian Law, under which DiEM25 has been recognised as an INPMA requires a particular governance structure which does not fully correspond with DiEM25’s Organising Principles. For this purpose, DiEM25’s official constitution (see Appendix below) is different to its actual governance model as described in the Organising Principles above. The bodies and executives demanded by the legal governance structure will have no authority over DiEM25’s political work and will only be responsible for conveying to Belgium’s legal authorities, and in a manner consistent with Belgian Law, the decisions of DiEM25 bodies described in the Organising Principles. To guarantee the primacy of DiEM25’s Organising Principles over the official DiEM25’s constitution, all DiEM25 members and elected/selected officials (e.g. members of the Coordinating Collective, the Advisory Panel, the Validating Council etc.) pledge to adhere to the following Letter of Agreement courtesy of joining DiEM25 and being elected/selected to serve in any official capacity:

Letter of Agreement between all DiEM25 members

and elected/selected DiEM25 office holders

By joining DiEM25, and participating in its work as a member and an elected/selected office holder, I pledge that I shall operate within DiEM25’s Organising Principles as laid down in this document. I also pledge that if I also serve on any of DiEM25’s bodies (e.g. Board of Directors), or hold any office defined by DiEM25’s official constitution (see Appendix below), as submitted to and approved by Belgian authorities, I shall do so on the understanding that, in that context, I must abide fully by the decisions and instructions given to me and to my colleagues from the decision making bodies defined by DiEM25’s Organising Principles. In short, I pledge to respect the primacy of DiEM25’s Organising Principles and the decision-making bodies defined in the latter over DiEM25’s bodies defined by the official constitution.

To facilitate maximum consistency between the political organisation of DiEM25 (the present Organising Principles – OP) and DiEM25’s official constitution (C), the following arrangements will be in place:

The Members, defined in C below, will consist of CC members plus Ex Officio members (the Coordinators), defined in OP – and so the General Assembly (C) will coincide with the extended CC (OP).

The Board of Directors, defined in C below, will consist of the CC members, defined in OP.

The Secretary General, defined in C, will be the Secretarial Coordinator (an Ex Officio member of the CC), defined in OP.

The Treasurer, defined in C, will be the Coordinator of Finances (an Ex Officio member of the CC), defined in OP.

The Chair and Vice Chair of the Board of Directors, defined in C, will be appointed by the CC, defined in OP.

The legal-political governance disconnect

APPENDIX: The legal constitution of International non-profit making Association DiEM25

Preamble: DiEM25 brings together all those united in the belief that that “Democracy across Europe is a prerequisite for a functioning prosperous European Union. We believe the EU is running out of time, quickly. Change is needed – an immediate change of direction with the aim of creating a democratic Union by 2025, at the latest. This is the core message of DiEM25’s Manifesto which sets out how such an aim can be achieved and the timescale.

These statutes provide both a framework for DiEM25 to pursue its objectives, and govern its own open and democratic decision-making processes.

Name, Headquarters and Duration

Article 1 Name

1.1. An international non-profit making association shall be constituted, named DiEM25 or in full “Democracy in Europe Movement 2025” (hereinafter “the Association”).

1.2. The Association is ruled by Title III of the Belgian Law of June 1921 on non-profit making associations, international non-profit making organisation and foundations, as amended by the Law of 27 December 2004 (hereafter the “Law of 27 June 1921”).

1.3. The aims and objectives pursued by the Association are of an exclusively non-profit nature. It does not seek to make a profit, either for itself or for its members. Any surplus is reinvested in the pursuit of the aims of the Association.

1.4. It uses its financial resources to fulfil the aims set out in the statutes and refrains from offering high remuneration to its constituent bodies, to its staff or to third parties.

Article 2 Headquarters

2.1. The headquarters of the Association are established at the “Maison des Associations Internationales”, 40 Rue Washington, 1050 Brussels.

2.2. The headquarters may be transferred to any other location in Belgium by a decision of the Board of Directors published within one month in the appendices to the “Moniteur belge”.

Article 3 Duration

3.1. The Association is set up for an indefinite period, subject to a review by the General Assembly before the expiry of the deadline of 2025 set for the fulfilment of its own objectives.

Aims, Priorities and Cooperation with other organisations

Article 4 Aims

4.1. The aims of the Association are:

  • To democratise the European Union;

To bring about transparency in an EU decision-making process which is hidden behind technical language;

To subject the EU’s bureaucracy to the will of sovereign European peoples;

To dismantle the habitual domination of corporate power over the will of citizens;

To re-politicise the rules that govern the European single market and common currency.

In pursuit of these aims the Association excludes activity of a profit making character and it is independent from political parties, commercial interests, governments and any other public authorities.

Article 5 Priorities

The Association establishes its priorities for the achievement of these aims by the EU before 2025:

  • Take immediate measures to ensure full transparency in EU decision-making particularly in areas of economic governance, trade negotiations and lobbying.

Use existing EU institutions and Treaties to bring about equitable and European solutions to Europe’s crisis of public debt, banking, inadequate investments and rising poverty.

Call a founding Assembly consisting of representatives elected by transnational ballot to draw up a European Constitution in order to transform Europe into a fully-fledged democracy.

Article 6 Cooperation with other organisations

6.1. The Association will be open to cooperation with organisations sharing its objectives. Such organisations pursue democratic self-government from the local to the national level. DiEM25 is committed equally to working closely with transnational social movements and European associations promoting democracy beyond the nation state.

Membership, Admission, Participation, Exclusion and Contributions

Article 7 Admission of Members

7.1. DiEM25 is open to membership of any individual who signs a declaration stating the he/she:

  • supports these statutes and acts independently of governments, political parties or commercial interests,

commits to playing an active part in the life of the Association, supporting campaigns and participating in meetings and

pays an obligatory annual contribution.

Applications for membership are submitted to the Secretary General and accepted by the Board of Directors by simple majority.

Article 8 Participation of Members

8.1. The Board of Directors and General Assembly ensure that:

  • the latest social media infrastructure is used to allow the membership to gather online, debate and decide the future of the Association whilst also providing opportunities for face-to-face meetings; in this way membership initiatives for DIEM25 emerge;

proposals resulting from such participatory processes are included on the programme of the Association after being accepted in a ballot by a majority of Members representing a significant number of countries;

elections to the Board are submitted to democratic primaries whereby candidates have to secure the support of a given number of Members from a significant number of countries.

On a proposal from the Board, the Assembly will establish criteria, such as how many countries is a “significant” number and rules for membership initiatives and primaries.

Article 9 Resignation and Exclusion

9.1. Membership of the Association shall cease either by resignation or exclusion.

Resignation shall be notified via the Secretary General and takes immediate effect. The exclusion of a Member may be decided in one of the following circumstances:

  • serious violation of any provision of the statutes;

evident conflict of interest which could call in question the independence of the Association;

non-payment of the annual contribution after a reminder has been sent.

Members have a right of appeal to the Board, which submits it to the General Assembly for final decision.

Members who have resigned or are excluded have no rights with respect to the Association’s assets.

Article 10 Members’ Contribution

10.1. Each Member pays an annual contribution fixed by the General Assembly on a proposal by the Board of Directors. In exceptional circumstances, or to pursue a campaign not foreseen in the work programme, a special contribution may be requested on a case-by-case basis.

Governance, General Assembly, Board of Directors and Secretary General

Article 11 The General Assembly

11.1. The General Assembly shall be composed of all the Members of the Association, present or represented.

  • Each Member has one voting right.

Each member present may have a maximum of 10 proxy votes.

The General Assembly is chaired by the chairman of the Board of Directors.

11.2. The Members shall meet in ordinary General Assembly at least once a year.

The Assembly shall also meet whenever the Board of Directors considers that it is necessary or at the request of a significant number of Members.

The General Assembly is held in conjunction with an annual Council/summer university of all members.

11.3. The General Assembly shall convene at the location indicated in the notice of meeting. The convocation shall be sent by the Secretary General, to all Members by e-mail at least three months in advance and shall include the agenda.

11.4. The General Assembly may only deliberate if the Members present or represented are at least fifty percent plus one of the total number of votes as determined in Article 11.1. If this quorum is not reached, a new Meeting shall be convened, in accordance with Article 11.3, which shall deliberate validly regardless of the number of members present. The decisions of the General Assembly shall be taken by a simple majority of the votes present.

11.5. A two-third majority of all votes shall be required to pass resolutions that concern the following questions:

  • amendments to the Statutes;

the exclusion of any Member; and

the dissolution of the Association.

11.6. Statutory changes shall enter into force only following their approval by the competent Belgian authority and their publication according to Articles 50 §3 and 51 §3 of the Belgian Law of 27 June 1921.

11.7. The decisions of the General Assembly shall be kept by the Secretary General in the minutes’ register, in the Association’s headquarters and they shall be made public.

11.8. All Members shall be informed of the decisions taken by the General Assembly by email.

11.9. A decision may not be taken on a matter which is not included on the agenda.

Article 12 Powers and responsibilities of the General Assembly

The General Assembly shall hold all powers, in particular to:

  • approve the annual accounts and determine the Association’s budget;

set the amount of the annual membership fee and any special contribution;

approve the strategic plan;

elect and dismiss the members of the Board of Directors and grant the discharge from their duties;

amend the Statutes;

exclude any Members, and

dissolve the Association.

Article 13 The Board of Directors

13.1. The Association shall be governed by a Board of Directors with a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 20 members.

  • The Board of Directors should reflect both geographical balance and balance in the expertise and knowledge required by the Association.

The members of the Board of Directors shall be appointed, on a proposal of the Members of the Association, by the General Assembly for four years. Outgoing members of the Board shall be eligible for re-election for one subsequent term.

Members of the Board of Directors may be dismissed by the General Assembly voting by a simple majority.

Should there be a vacancy on the Board of Directors, the Board shall provide for the provisional appointment of a new member. This appointment shall be submitted for ratification at the next General Assembly.

Members of the Board of Directors shall not be held liable for any obligation of the Association. Their liability is confined by the scope of their mandate.

Members of the Board of Directors shall not draw any personal profit from their mandate. Their mandate shall be unpaid; their expenses may be reimbursed.

13.2. The Board of Directors shall elect from its members a Chairman, a Vice Chairman and a Treasurer. The Board shall also appoint a Secretary General. His or her term shall be five years and may be renewed. The Secretary General takes part in the meetings of the Board without any voting right. The Board may suspend or dismiss the Secretary General. The Board may set up advisory groups and working parties.

13.3 The Board shall meet at least three times a year.

  • The convocation accompanied by the agenda shall be addressed by the Secretary General to each member of the Board at least one month before the meeting.

The Board may only deliberate if at least half of its members are present or represented by proxy. Each Board member may have a maximum of three proxy votes.

The decisions of the Board shall be taken by a simple majority of the votes present.

The minutes of the Board are kept in a register at the headquarters of the Association. They are made public.

Article 14 Powers and responsibilities of the Board of Directors

14.1. The Board shall carry out the objectives of the Association. For this purpose, it shall be invested with all powers of administration and delegation as mandated by the General Assembly according to these Statutes. The Board:

  • prepares the budget and accounts and other papers for the General Assembly;

oversees the execution of the work programme;

supports the work of the Secretary General in fundraising and building the Association;

oversees any legal action.

Article 15 The Secretary General

15.1. The Secretary General of the Association is in charge of its daily management. She/he reports to the Board.

  • All acts binding the Association shall be signed by the Chairman or a Vice Chairman of the Board or the Secretary General.

The Secretary General represents the Association in any litigation, both as a plaintiff or defendant with support from two Board members.

Funds, Budget and Accounts

Article 16 Receipt of Funds

The Association may receive, in addition to Members’ annual and special contributions, grants, donations, sponsorships and fees for projects provided such funding does not undermine, or be seen to undermine, its independence.

Article 17 The Budget

17.1. The financial year is closed on December 31 of each year. The annual accounts of the Association will comply with Article 53 of the Law of 27 June 1921 and will be sent each year to the Ministry of Justice. The General Assembly is responsible for electing an auditor for three years and discharging the Supervisory Board and the Secretary General.

Article 18 Dissolution and Liquidation

18.1. The Association may be dissolved, on a proposal of the Board of Directors, by a decision of the General Assembly in conformity with Article 11.4 of these Statutes. The General Assembly shall define the modalities of the Association’s dissolution. In case of dissolution, whatever the cause, the holdings remaining after all debts have been paid and all liabilities covered shall be put to a disinterested and similar use to DiEM25 determined by the General Assembly.

Reference to Belgian law

Article 19 Reference to Belgian law

For all points not covered by these Statutes, the Association shall refer to Title III of the Law of 27 June 1921.