STATUTES OF THE SOCIALIST GROUP
I. AIMS AND TASKS
The aim of the Socialist Group is the realization of the fundamental principles of democratic socialism within the Organization and in the member states of the Council of Europe.
The Socialist Group will at all times be the resolute defender of the cause of human rights, of the promotion of peace and social justice and the supporter of sustainable development politics and new prosperity strategy.
It has always believed in uniting people on a local, regional, national, European and international level. That is why we have always worked alongside the workers, feminist, youth and civic rights movements and will continue to do so. We strongly believe that we need allies in our fight for just societies and fulfilling lives for all.
The Socialist Group is a progressive European party. We defined five values as our moral compass for political action. We believe in freedom and democracy, equality, justice and solidarity.
The Socialist Group must seek to ensure that a candidate enjoying its confidence takes part in every election concerning the bodies of the Council of Europe.
The Socialist Group consists of members and associate members. Others may be invited to its meetings as guests.
1. The members of the Socialist Group shall consist of the members of the Parliamentary Assembly (representatives and substitutes) who belong to a party having official status (member, associate or observer) with the Socialist International and/or Party of European Socialists, or Progressive Alliance.
2. If, in its national parliament, such a party has formed a common parliamentary group with others, paragraph IIA1 shall apply to all members of this parliamentary group at the party’s request. They have the possibility of constituting a sub-group within the Socialist Group.
B. ASSOCIATE MEMBERS
1. Members of the Parliamentary Assembly belonging to a party other than described in paragraph II.A.1, or belonging to no party, may become associate members of the Socialist Group.
2. Each request for associate membership shall be examined by the Bureau and by the members of the Socialist Group of the same national delegation.
3. The plenary Assembly of the Socialist Group shall decide on the acceptance of each associate member or associate party by a simple majority, in the event of an opinion in favor by the Bureau. Otherwise a two-thirds majority is required.
4. Associate members shall have the right to participate in the activities of the Socialist Group, the right to speak in the plenary Assembly for the Group and the right to vote in all matters.
C. GUESTS & MEMBERS from COUNTRIES in PARTNERSHIP for DEMOCRACY
1. Members of countries in Partnership for Democracy and special guest delegations to the Parliamentary Assembly coming from parties sharing the same basic principles and values as described in the preamble of this Statute shall have the right to take part in Group activities and in all meetings of the plenary Assembly of the Socialist Group.
2. Members of countries in Partnership for Democracy and special guest delegations coming from other parties or belonging to no party shall take part in meetings of the plenary Assembly subject to its agreement.
3. Representatives of the Party of European Socialists, of the Socialist International and of the International Union of Socialist Youth shall have the right to take part in all meetings of the plenary Assembly.
4. Subject to an agreement of the Bureau of the Group, other non-members of the Parliamentary Assembly may be invited to activities, seminars, working groups, and for special items on the agenda of meetings of the Bureau and the plenary Assembly of the Group.
D. SUSPENSION and EXCLUSION from the GROUP
1. If the conduct of a member of the Socialist Group repeatedly violates the values of Socialist Group, he/she may temporarily be suspended from his/her work within the Group; this decision shall be taken by the plenary Assembly which may approve by a two-thirds majority of the members present.
The Bureau of the Group shall inform the party involved about that decision. If a member continues to behave in a manner contrary to the values and the standards of conduct decided by the Group, he/she can be excluded from the Group. The plenary Assembly decides by a two-thirds majority of the members present. This decision is only valid if the question has been included in the agenda of the meeting.
2. The same provisions shall apply to associate members and guests, with the proviso that in the plenary Assembly a two-thirds majority is required.
III. BODIES OF THE SOCIALIST GROUP
A. PLENARY ASSEMBLY
1. The plenary Assembly shall be composed of the members and associate members of the Socialist Group.
2. The plenary Assembly will normally be held at the beginning of each session.
It considers all the items on the agenda and allows for adequate discussion if possible.
3. The plenary Assembly is called at least a fortnight before the beginning of the session, the agenda being indicated by the President of the Group or one of his/her substitutes. In urgent cases, shorter notice can be given.
4. A quorum is achieved if more than one-third of all members are present.
Members, who before the passing of a resolution have put forward political reasons of considerable importance for refusal to approve a decision taken, are not bound by that decision.
5. The plenary Assembly has the following tasks:
a. Election of the President, 1st Vice-President –belonging to both gender- and other members of the Bureau of the Socialist Group and the Treasurer.
b. Choice of the two Auditors.
c. Decisions concerning membership and associate membership.
d. Decisions concerning the Statute.
e. Decisions concerning the budget of the Group.
f. Proposals for questions to be included in the agenda of the next session of the Group.
g. Approval of the annual report of the Bureau of the Group.
h. Decisions on the fundamental initiatives taking the form of recommendations and resolutions.
i. Confirmation of the requests and decisions of the Bureau of the Socialist Group.
j. Determination of the position of the Group as to the election of:
aa. President of the Parliamentary Assembly
bb. President(s) of the committees
cc. Vice-President(s) of the committees
dd. Secretary General of the Council of Europe
ee. Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe
ff. Secretary General of the Assembly
k. Appointment of working groups for the examination of certain questions.
6. Elections of the socialist candidate to the Presidency of the Assembly as well as the President and 1st Vice-president of the Group are to be held in several rounds.
After the second round, the comrade with the smallest support cannot take part in the following round anymore. The first who gets one more vote than the half of all votes cast is elected.
7. A report of the decisions taken at the plenary Assembly shall be drawn up by the Secretary.
B. BUREAU OF THE GROUP
1. The Bureau of the Socialist Group is composed of the Chair, the 1st Vice-Chair, the actual & former Chairs of Committees (last former one), the Treasurer, the two Auditors, the Chair of the Women’s Working Group and by other members allocated as follows:
National delegations having:
• more than ten members of the Socialist Group: one seat every year
• six to ten members: one seat every two years
• three to five members: one seat every three years
• less than three members: one seat every four years.
2a. All Socialist Parties in member countries of the Council of Europe will be asked to ensure a balanced representation of women in the seats of the national delegations.
2b. With regard to the composition of the Bureau, all countries of the Group are also asked to propose women. If, subsequently, there is still no guarantee of a fair representation of sexes (one quarter at least), the following procedure will take place:
i. Countries having permanent seats should propose at least one woman. If they fail to reach an agreement, the Group must decide on the order in which each country must be represented by a female Group member.
ii. Countries having no permanent seat, but who are on the list for that year, must be represented by as many women as are necessary to guarantee the minimum of one-quarter of the whole Bureau.
If no solution is found, countries whose term comes due the following year (and who would be willing to send women that year) will be preferred. This decision will be taken, if necessary, by the Group, prior to the election, on the basis of a proposal made by the working group set up to prepare the election (two men, two women, as proposed by the Women’s Group)
3. The two Auditors are not included in the above allocation.
4. The Secretary of the Socialist Group has the right to attend Bureau meetings, the right to speak, but not the right to vote.
5. The meetings of the Bureau must be convened with three weeks’ notice and with inscription on the agenda.
The Bureau decisions will be taken by a simple majority of the members present.
A report of the decisions taken at the meeting shall be drawn up by the Secretary.
6. Any member of the Bureau who is prevented from attending a meeting can be replaced on his/her own proposal by a Group member of the same national delegation; the additional female member may propose any female Group member from any national delegation not represented on the Bureau. If the Chairperson, the Treasurer or the Auditors are prevented from attending a meeting, they shall not be replaced.
7. The mandate of the Chair and 1st Vice-chair of the Group is renewable by election every two years and may be renewed no more than three times.
The Bureau, except the Treasurer, the two Auditors, the Chair of the Women’s Working Group, the present and former Chairs of Committees, is elected for a period of one year. Outgoing members are re-eligible.
8. The Bureau has the following tasks:
a. The direction of the Socialist Group.
b. Preparation and execution of the resolutions of the plenary Assembly.
c. Appointment of the Secretary of the Group and supervising of his/her work.
d. Appointment of a member to undertake a particular task.
e. Establishing and maintaining contact with the Bureau of the Parliamentary Assembly, with the Socialist Group of the European Parliament, with the Committee of Ministers and the staff representation of the Council of Europe staff, with the European Confederation of Trade Unions.
f. Contacts with the Party of European Socialists as well as with Socialist International
g. Decisions on the representation of the Socialist Group at meetings.
h. Holding of symposia of the Socialist Group.
i. Holding of press conferences.
C. PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES
At the beginning of each session, the Bureau appoints a coordinator responsive for each committee of the Assembly and who might be invited to participate in the Bureau’s meetings.
D. WORKING GROUPS
On the proposal of the Bureau, the plenary Assembly can constitute working groups to examine certain questions.
Each working group shall elect a Chairperson from among its members by simple majority vote.
The working group shall be dissolved when its task is completed.
1. The Socialist Group has an executive Secretary.
2. The Secretary’s tasks, under the supervision of the Chairperson, the Bureau and in accordance with their instructions, include:
a. Maintaining contact with the Secretariat of the Council of Europe, the Secretariat of national Socialist Parties, ministers and political socialist leaders, the Socialist Group of the European Parliament and the Party of European Socialists.
b. Preparation of the summary reports of the Bureau and plenary Assembly.
c. Follow-up of the Bureau’s and plenary Assembly’s decisions.
d. Planning and organizing the meetings of the plenary Assembly
and of the Bureau and, occasionally, organizing seminars.
e. Keeping the Group’s archives and files.
f. Preparation of the budget and management of the expenses of the Group.
The treasury is managed by the Treasurer, who will present an annual report to the Bureau of the Group on the financial situation.
The two Auditors also present a report once a year to the Bureau and request to be released from their financial responsibilities.
The political and parliamentary activity of the Socialist Group should be reflected in the public opinion.