HISTORY

 

History, objectives, organization and activities of the
European association of former members of parliament
of the member-states of the Council of Europe
 

 

1.  On the occasion of the General Assembly of the Belgian Association of former members of parliament, in 1984, in Bruges, representatives of the associations of former parliamentarians of Belgium, Germany, France and Italy talked about future collaboration. It was agreed that they should meet once a year for information and coordination talks. In 1987, the “Four” decided, in Strasbourg, to set up an informal group, to give a European dimension to the activities of their associations and to concrete their engagement in favour of the European ideal. In 1994, this Group, which had been joined by Turkey in 1988, created officially the “European Association of former members of parliament of the member states of the Council of Europe” (Association européenne des anciens parlementaires des pays membres du Conseil de l'Europe). With the creation of the website in 2005 (http://www.fpap-europe.org), the Association has been also using the abbreviation "FP-AP".

 

2.  In 1995, Cyprus joined the European Association, followed in 2000 by the Netherlands, in 2001 by Spain, in 2002 by Greece, in 2003 by Ireland and Luxembourg, in 2004 by Austria and Switzerland, in 2006 by Malta, in 2008 by Portugal as well as by the European Parliament Former Members Association, in 2010 by Sweden, and in 2012 by Andorra and Poland, and in 2015 by Lithuania (since 2017 again observer) and the United Kingdom. In 2019, Finland and Norway (to be confirmed) joined the association as a full member.

 

3. In June 2001, a very important decision was taken with respect to two different ways how to cooperate with the European Association:

  • The normal membership with full membership fee and voting rights including full representation in the Bureau.

  • The observer status for a maximum period of two years (without paying any fee). This status provides the possibility to make acquaintance with the European Association and gives the necessary time to create conditions at home for a full membership. Before becoming full members of the European Association, several members made use of this status.

 

4. The Association is open to all national associations of former national members of Parliament of the Member States of the Council of Europe and for the Former Members Association of the European Parliament. Every member Association remains autonomous, its membership of the European Association translated through respect of the Statutes in use.

 

5. The explicit objective of the Association, embedded in the statutes, is to promote the European ideal, based on individual and political liberties, the primacy of law and true democracy, and to contribute to the European construction. To this end, the association wants to make the European institutions better known and may organise meetings, seminars and colloquies aimed at examining the major problems of society.  It also wants to make the European institutions better known and to cooperate with them. With this in mind, a memorandum of understanding and cooperation has been concluded with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in 2009.

 

6. The Association has two organs: the executive being the Bureau, where every association is represented by two delegates. The General Assembly (GA), composed by three delegates of each member Association, takes the decisions concerning new memberships, the budget and the annual membership fee, the management and the activity programme, prepared by the Bureau. For a two years term, the GA approves the mandate of the Bureau delegates taking into account the proposals of the member associations; it elects the President and the first Vice-President. The Bureau appoints also a second, third and fourth Vice-President. A restricted Bureau operates within the Bureau and deals with current issues.

 

7. The Bureau appoints an administrative Secretary General. His task consists of coordinating the different activities of the Association. This appointment has to be confirmed by the GA. This person attends the meetings of the Bureau and the GA. He prepares the agendas for the meetings of the Bureau and the GA. He is responsible for the execution of the budget under the supervision of the Deputy Chairman acting as Treasurer.

 

8. Up to now, the Association had the following presidents: Giuseppe Vedovato (Italy), Jacques Augarde (France), Ferdinand Boey (Belgium), Uwe Holtz (Germany), Ali Bozer (Turkey), Manuel Nuñez Encabo (Spain), Mrs. Nuala Fennell (Ireland), Camille Dimmer (Luxembourg), Ninos Hadjirousos (Cyprus), Mrs. Mechtild de Jong (Netherlands), Luis Nandin de Carvalho (Portugal) and Lino DeBono (Malta). Since March 2018, Rune Rydén (Sweden) has been president.

 

9. The former Presidents of the European Association and the former Presidents of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, who were member of the Bureau of the Association, can participate in the meetings of the Bureau and the GA in an advisory capacity.

 

10. The annual contribution of the member associations is 1.800 Euro per association. This amount covers the working costs of the Association - in particular, translation costs into the two official languages (French and since 1999 English) - and includes a lump sum to the Belgian Senate for the administration.

 

11. The seat of the Association is the Palais-Bourbon (National Assembly) in Paris. Normally and at least once per year, the Bureau and GA meetings take place in Paris. The administrative seat is the Palais de la Nation in Brussels, i.e. the Belgian Senate, whose  former administrative director Roland Roblain is the Secretary General of the European Association.

 

12. Since 2000 and according to its objectives, the Association has decided to organise every two years a European colloquy, the content of which is prepared by the member associations.

  • In 2000, the first European colloquy has successfully taken place at the Palais de l'Europe, seat of the Council of Europe, in Strasbourg. There were more than 60 participants. Theme of the colloquy was “strengthening the parliamentary dimension of the European institutions: Council of Europe, European Union and OSCE”. The Strasbourg Appeal adopted by the colloquy participants, was sent to all the parliaments in the OSCE states as well as to the European transnational assemblies.

  • The theme of the second colloquy in Rome in November 2002 was well chosen: “Common European values - Pillars for a European Constitution”. About 100 participants adopted the Declaration of Rome which was sent to the President and other members of the European Convention as well as to the European Parliament, to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and other parliaments.

  • The theme of the third colloquy in Berlin in October 2004 was “European Political Integration in the Face of Global Challenges” (about 80 participants).

  • The fourth colloquy in Limassol (Cyprus) in November 2006 was dedicated to the theme “Europe, the Mediterranean and the Fight against International Terrorism” (about 50 participants).

  • The fifth colloquy took place in Athens in October 2008 on the representative and participatory democracy (about 75 former MPs).

  • In 2010, the sixth colloquy in Kiev (Ukraine) dealt with migration issues (about 47 participants).

  • In Malta in 2012, the seventh colloquy addressed the issue “Support of Democratic Transition Processes in the Southern Mediterranean and in the Middle East”.

  • For the eighth colloquy, the Bureau chose the theme “The challenges for democracy in times of globalisation – how to strengthen the democratic institutions and people’s participation?” (Brussels, European Parliament, November 2014).

  • "Challenges of Immigration" has been chosen by the Bureau as the theme for the ninth colloquy (Lyon, October 2016).

  • For the tenth colloquy held in Strasbourg October 2018, the theme "Future of Europe" was chosen (55 participants).

  • Berlin will host the eleventh colloquy in October 2020, the theme is "Europe facing Global Powers at a Horizon of 10 years".

 

13. In the past, the European Association - in cooperation with the member associations - organised seminars on different subjects.  Just to give you a few examples :

  • In 2003, the Turkish association organized a symposium “Turkey - a European country”,

  • In 2004, the Irish Association organized a seminar on the occasion of the Irish presidency of the European Union. 

  • On 12.06.2015, the Portuguese association organized in Funchal a seminar on "Regional and Political Autonomy".

  • On 09.10.2015, the Austrian association organized in Vienna a seminar on "Seventy Years of United Nations". 

  • On 17.06.2016, the Swedish association organized in Stockholm a seminar on "the Arctic, a hot topic".

  • On 03.11.2017, the Maltese association organized in La Valletta a seminar on "Statelessness".

  • On 25.05.2018, the Belgian association organized in Brussels a seminar on "Europa Quo Vadis".

  • On 28.06.2019, the Swedish association organized in Lund a seminar on "Climate Changes".

  • On 25.10.2019, the Italian association organized in Cagliari a seminar on "History and Role of Sardinia" .

  • On 19.03.2020, the French association will organize in Paris a seminar on "Convergence of Health Care".

  • On 26.06.2020, the Finnish association will organize in Helsinki a seminar on "Finlandization".

The member organisations invite from time to time the other organisations to special events, e.g. in 2002 the German Association and in 2005 the Belgian Association at the occasion of their 25th anniversary.  The German Association invited the other associations in 2007 and in 2017 to celebrate respectively the 30th and 40th anniversary as did the Italian Association in 2009 for its 40th  anniversary or the Belgium Association in 2011 for its 30th anniversary.

 

14. The European Association pioneered in 2009 by holding in Lisbon (Portugal) a seminar on the role and status of former parliamentarians and their associations in the political and civil society in Europe. One follow-up of this seminar was the elaboration of the “European charter of former parliamentarians”. This charter, unanimously adopted in October 2011 at a seminar held in the premises of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, lays down all the principles and aims guiding and inspiring the work by the FP-AP, and recalls the methods recommended assuring its influence and impact.

 

15. For member associations the European Association offers the following advantages:

  • The member associations will be represented in the Bureau and the General Assembly of the European Association (as a full member with full voting rights).

  • Every two years, they may actively participate in the preparation and implementation of the European colloquy as well as in other manifestations, seminars or days of reflection on selected issues.

  • They are regularly invited to anniversaries of other associations.

  • The European Association can be used to develop and enrich friendly contacts to other associations and to promote the European integration.

                                                                    

Prof. Dr. Uwe Holtz 
Honorary President
18th November 2019

 

 

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version : 2019-11-18