The First PPEU Council Meeting: Moving Right Along
This past weekend the PPEU meeting took place in Brussels. This was the first ordinary Council Meeting (General Assembly) of the organization and the main topic was the election of the new board. The founding conference for the European Pirates happened in March last year, where the first chair of the Pirate Party Europe was elected.
One of the first agenda items for the Council was the question about membership fees. According to the statutes, only members that had paid their fees (either 2014 or 2015 fees) would remain members and be able to vote. However, since there had been delays in setting up an official organization and a bank account this past year some organizations were not able to pay even if the will was there. In some countries an invoice is required, something that PPEU couldn’t send before the organization was officially registered. This problem was adressed by a proposal from the MEP group that was accepted at the council meeting.
“The Council of the European Pirate Party notes that, seeing that there has been practical problems tied to invoicing, no member shall be considered having failed to meet their financial obligations regarding the year 2014 and 2015. This respite shall lapse one month after invoices has been sent out to the members.”
After this had been confirmed it was clear that everyone still counted as members. From the initial 22 founding members, there were 14 represented at the meeting: PPAT, PPBE, PPCZ, PPFI, PPDE, PPLU, PPNL, PPNO, PPPL, PPCAT, PPSE, PPCH, Young Pirates of Europe and the Pirate MEPs. The remaining 8 of the founding members had not managed to make this first council meeting for different reasons: PPHR, PPEE, PPFR, PPGR, PPIS, PPIT, PPRO and Confederacion Pirata.
Following the affirmation of the founding members remaining the council voted to accept the application from Slovenia (PPSI) to become a new ordinary member in PPEU. There was also an application from Japan (PPJP) to become an observer member which was accepted. Japan has a conflict between two separate Pirate Parties both claiming to be the real one. Now one of them is a member in PPI and the other just became an observer member in PPEU. However, their delegate at the meeting affirmed us there were discussions to merge the two parties. There was also observer applications from PP Liberland (not deemed relevant enough) and PPI (voted down by a small margin). The definitions of what kind of observer members should be accepted are not clear in the statutes and is something that needs to be determined until the next Council Meeting. For many of the delegates it felt strange with an organization of organizations (PPI) to become part of another organization of organizations (PPEU).
The past year (2014/2015) PPEU has suffered from a dysfunctional board which was further shown through their ‘One Year Report‘ about their activities. The report was published just before the agenda item was brought up and a small break had to be made to allow all delegates to have the opportunity to at least read the report before it was discussed. The summary of the past year is a light reading that mostly reads as a proposition paper towards if the PPEU should register as an AISBL organization or not. The list of what was accomplished since the founding conference is almost insignificant. As a result of this and the lack of financial report the council decided to not approve the reports of the work of the past board.
“The council, taking note of the lack of a formal balance sheet, noting the one year report of the board, having heard the verbal explanations by representatives of the board, decides to not approve with prejudice the financial report and the one year report of the board.”
The council elected a new board with help of approval voting. There was a close race for the chairperson between Smari McCarthy (15 votes) and Tale Haukbjørk Østrådal (13 votes) but the rest of the elections were easily determined. After the elections for board members there were some discussions on how to interpret the statutes of “up to 5 additional board-members”. Some delegates wanted more rounds of voting but it was eventually solved by a procedurial motion to set the amount of additional board members elected at this meeting to four.
The elected PPEU board for 2015/2016
Chairperson: Smári McCarthy (PPIS)
Vice-Chairpersons (2): Muriel Rovira Esteva (PPCAT) and Tale Haukbjørk Østrådal (PPNO)
Treasurer: Sven Clement (PPLU)
Board members (4): Antonios Motakis (PPGR), Mikuláš Peksa (PPCZ), Mattias Bjärnemalm (PPSE) and Nina Konvalinka (PPSI)
To fix the financial and organizational status of PPEU the council took the decision to work towards establishing an organization in Luxembourg (instead of an AISBL in Belgium) with the help of a two step plan:
1. The new board is invited to submit a proposal starting September 2015 to rework the statutes of the PPEU.
2. The PPEU board will invite an online Council to validate these new statutes and then move forward to create the legal entity of European Pirate Party in Luxembourg as a non-profit.
There was a proposed resolution from PPDE to “declare European Solidarity with Greece”. However after the discussion around it PPDE chose to withdraw their motion. The gesture was right but the execution was wrong in many ways according to the other council members. Political stances need to be agreed upon by individual members before being lifted to the council meeting in order to reach towards consensus. Besides this concern there were also some factual and grammatical misstakes in the proposed resolution. Regarding the other suggested statute changes, the council took a decision to postpone them until an online council could take place later this fall.
More information about PPEU can be found on their website.
Images: CC-BY, Pirate Times.
About Josef Ohlsson Collentine
I'm a dual citizen (American/Swede) and try to integrate my reflections from a more global perspective if possible. I'm the organizational leader for Pirate Times and work actively to strengthen the pirate movement through this work as well as being the international contact for Piratpartiet (PPSE). Elected board member of PPSE for 2015-2018. If you would like to ask me something I speak English, Swedish and Spanish. Find me on the links below