General Assembly: Minutes of the General Assembly of EWLA (2005)
The General Assembly took place on Thursday, 17 March 2005, 4.30 p.m. to 6.00 p.m., and on Friday, 18 March 2005, 9.00 a.m. to 10.30 a.m and 5.00 to 6.30 p.m.
After having assured that only members of EWLA were present, Elisabeth MUELLER, President of EWLA, opened the General Assembly and chaired it until the election of the new President of EWLA, Leena LINNAINMAA.
The chair reported on EWLA activities in the years 2003-2005 (see the written report attached and on the EWLA members only-website).
Then, Judith WILLIS, UK board member, took the floor in order to explain the proposed changes of the constitution of EWLA (see Annex of the minutes) as follows:
• Enlargement: new EU Member States, EEA- and EFTA-states
• Introduction of a honorary membership
• Instalment of 3 Vice Presidents instead of one
• Creation of a “Presidium” as a new constitutional body
• New provisions on the convocation and decision-making of the Board and the Presidium
• New regulations on the re-creation of the Board
• New regulations on the Conference committee and new provisions on the means of submission for the invitation to the General Assembly
The changes were shortly discussed. Christa TOBLER, member of EWLA, proposed to adopt the changes. All amendments were adopted by a large majority (1 abstention). The new constitution is annexed to the minutes.
Nicole VAN CROMBRUGGHE, Treasurer of EWLA, distributed then the accounts of the bookyear 2003 and 2004 (see Annex of the minutes). She explained that 2/3 of the members paid the membership fees and that only few cancellations of the membership were announced. However, the association is growing steadily. The chair explained the reimbursement of the loan of djb. The General Assembly accepted the accounts.
The chair explained that EWLA is now legally existing according to Belgian law. The Royal decree was received in 2004 and the publication is to find in the Belgian OJ in January 2005. It took three years to get the necessary approvals. The chair thanked warmly Nicole VAN CROMBRUGGHE, Treasurer of EWLA, for her engagement in this regard. From now on it will be possible to get European funding. Registration with the European Commission or consultative status with international or European organisations, such as the Council of Europe or the ECOSOC is now feasible. The chair thanked all active EWLA-members who were engaged and not reimbursed.
Sophia SPILIOTOPOULOS, Vice-President of EWLA, drew attention to the fact that the interventions of EWLA at the European level were until now very effective. In particular, EWLA contributed considerably to the explicit mention of gender equality in Article I-2 of the Constitutional Treaty, and whole sentences from EWLA’s positions can be found in the new gender equality directives (2002/73 and 2004/113). A recent example of the visibility of EWLA is its active participation in the ongoing process with regard to the recast directive where EWLA is promoting opinions, is consulted by the rapporteur in the EP and invited to hearings in the EP.
The chair underlined that the added value of EWLA constitutes in the wide variety of members with different professional backgrounds. She pointed out two strong blocks where EWLA-members are active and visible: On one side human rights, including gender equality, and family law and on the other side the corporate law.
Maria DURÁN-FEBRER, Secretary of EWLA, raised the question of how to involve more consistently the national associations of women lawyers in the framework of EWLA. Sabine OVERKAEMPING, German EWLA-member and representative of the djb (German Women Lawyers Association), took over this idea and proposed to create a respective network, starting with a regular e-mail exchange. A meeting of the Presidents of the national associations should be envisaged.
The chair announced that the next congress will be held in Budapest on 19 and 20 Mai 2006. In 2007 Switzerland will organize the EWLA-congress in March in Zurich.
Odile LAJOIX, French member of EWLA, pointed out the necessity to network strongly with magistrates.
The chair presented the Board Members - from the 10 new EU-Member States, following the rules of the EWLA-constitution from Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg and the Netherlands and in addition from Denmark, Germany, Portugal, Spain and Sweden because the elected cannot work as Board Members any more due to other obligations as well as from the EEA- and EFTA-States - to elect:
Cyprus Christiana EROTOKRITOU
Czech Republic Iva JERMANOVÁ
Germany Beate RUDOLF
Spain María BELEN MARTIN
Finland Leena LINNAINMAA
France Odile LAJOIX
Hungary Katalin DASZKALOVICS
Italy Maria GRAZIA GIAMMARINARO
Luxemburg Viviane ECKER
Latvia Dace LUTERS-THUEMMEL
Malta Rosalyn BORG
Netherlands Ingrid WESTENDORP
Poland Anna WILKOWSKA
Portugal Maria ROSÁRIO PALMA RAMALHO
Sweden Lena SVENAEUS
Slovenia Tanja KODERMAN
Slovakia Zuzana MAGUROVÁ
Iceland Herdis BORGEIRSDÓTTIR
Norway Synnove EK
Switzerland Regula KÁGI-DIENER
Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Lithuania and Liechtenstein proposed no member.
The chair drew the attention to the fact that the President, three Vice-Presidents, the Treasurer and the Secretary have to be elected as well.
In the name of the General Assembly, Sophia SPILIOTOPOULOS, Vice-President of EWLA, thanked the chair and President of EWLA for her perfect and ideal presidency very much hoping that she will still keep in touch. In her reply, Elisabeth MUELLER, President of EWLA stated that she very much appreciated working for EWLA and that she enjoyed the time with EWLA very much.
The chair of the General Assembly closed the Thursday session of the General Assembly at 6.00 p.m.
Elisabeth MUELLER, president of EWLA, reopened the General Assembly on Friday at 9.00 a.m. and chaired it until Leena LINNAINMAA was elected as new president of EWLA.
An attendance list of all those present was created and checked against the list of members.
All proposed Board Members except the French were elected unanimously by a show of hands. The French Board Member - elected by secret ballot – is Marie-Jeanne CAMPANA (16 votes; Odile LAJOIX: 11 votes).
The new Presidium, elected by show of hands, consists of the following:
President Leena LINNAINMAA, Finland
Vice-President María BELEN MARTIN, Spain
Vice-President Katalin DASZKALOVICS, Hungary
Vice-President Herdis BORGEIRSDÓTTIR, Iceland
Treasurer Nicole VAN COMBRUGGHE, Belgium
General Secretary Judith WILLIS, UK
After the elections the chair handed over to the new President of EWLA, Leena LINNAINMAA.
The chair drew the attention to the fact that contributions for the forthcoming conferences of EWLA can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ursula NELLES, member of EWLA, thanked intensively Sophia SPILIOTOPOULOS, Greek member of the Board of EWLA, for her incredible work done as Vice-President for EWLA with the effect that EWLA is visible on the European level, heard and taken into account.
One Hungarian member of EWLA asked whether items for the conference in Mai 2006 are already decided. The chair proposed that this item will be discussed in the framework of the upcoming Board Meeting.
In the afternoon session of the General Assembly on 18th May 2005, three resolutions, mainly as results of the workshops, were discussed and to adopted:
• Resolution of EWLA on TRAFFICKING (copies were available)
The resolution (see Annex of the minutes) was presented, discussed and adopted (4 votes against and 4 abstentions).
• Resolution of EWLA on Sexual and Reproductive Rights (copies were available)
The resolution (see Annex of the minutes) was presented, discussed, language checked and adopted by a large majority (4 votes for the extended version).
• Resolution of EWLA on the Constitutional Treaty of the European Union
The resolution (see Annex of the minutes) was presented, discussed and adopted nearly unanimously (1 abstention).
The chair of the General Assembly, the new elected president of EWLA, Leena LINNAINMAA, closed the General Assembly at 6.30 p.m. on Friday, 18 March 2005.