Due to the COVID-19 pandemia, we skipped the annual General Assembly (GA) for 2020. This meant i. a. that no changes were made to the Board, and the annual report for 2019 was not checked and approved.
Now, in 2021 we braced ourselves and arranged the GA with proper agenda. Naturally, the meeting was arranged virtually. This helped us to increase the participation to the meeting – usually as participants there have been only the members of the Board(!).
The meeting was held at the fringe of the 33. meeting of the EGP Council. Attached you find the minutes for the GA.
EUROPEAN NETWORK OF GREEN SENIORS
General Assembly of the ENGS Friday 28 May 2021 at 11.30 CET
1. Opening – Chair of the meeting, secretary, confirmation
Vice chair of ENGS Board Vivianne Gunnarsson opened the meeting and asked if she can continue as the chair of the General Assembly (GA). She asked Reino Lampinen to take the role of secretary and Tom van der Wal to check the minutes. The GA adopted these decisions unanimously.
2. Presence and confirmation of those entitled to vote
The following members of the Green senior associations in Europe attended the meeting:
- Vivianne Gunnarsson, Sweden
- Frank Hauser, Germany
- Christa Möller, Germany
- Jochen Detscher, Germany
- Kris Fierens, Belgium
- Irmgard Seidler, Austria
- Reino Lampinen, Finland
- Erwin Schaefer, England and Wales
- Hilda Passchier, the Netherlands
- Tom van der Wal, the Netherlands
As observers, the following delegates also attended:
- Anastasia Mikhailova, Russia
- Susanna Silva, Portugal
- Rodolfo Coloma, Spain
- Anna Durro, Albania
- Charles Berkow, Sweden
The following persons were named to represent their country/organisation during votes, if needed: Christa Möller for Germany, Hilda Passchier, for the Netherlands, Erwin Schaefer for England and Wales (UK), Reino Lampinen for Finland, Kris Fierens for Flanders (Belgium), Irmgard Schiedler for Austria and Vivianne Gunnarsson for Sweden.
3. Notice to attend the GA
Invitations had been sent 29 April 2021 to the Green Parties members of the EGP and they were asked to forward the invitation to their senior organizations. In some cases, the invitation was sent directly to the senior organizations where the address was known. This procedure followed the statutes of the ENGS.
The course of action was approved unanimously.
4. Approval of the minutes of the latest GA in Tampere, Finland 2019
The minutes of the previous GA were adopted unanimously.
5. Annual report for 2020 and three-year report for 2018–2020 including the report for 2019
Due to the Corona pandemic no General Assembly was arranged for 2019. The annual report covers years 2019 and 2020. More details are presented on the homepage, History of ENGS.
The GA approved the annual report for 2020 (annex) and noted the report covering years 2019 and 2020.
6. Financial report for 2020
Treasurer Kris Fierens presented the report.
The GA discussed the corona situation and travel restrictions minimizing the need for finances during last year and this year.
In accordance with Article 6.5. Financial control of the statutes of ENGS “Every yearly meeting the GA appoints three of his members, not being members of the board, to control the financial reports of the treasurer.”
Due to the small number of the members, in practice all members of the ENGS sit in the Board, and hence this rule cannot be followed. No-one from green senior organizations outside of the ENGS Board has shown an interest in checking our finances. Therefore, the GA was asked to vote on the adoption of the financial report.
The GA adopted the financial report for 2020 unanimously.
8. Approval of the period ́s performance of the previous Board
The GA approved unanimously the performance of the Board during years 2019 to 2020.
9. Membership fee
The GA discussed the membership fee. In accordance with Article 5 of the statutes
“The organisations of elderly people, mentioned in the article 4 pay a yearly contribution as determined by the General Assembly. If such an organisation does not exist, the individual elderly members of member parties of the EGP shall determine their contribution.”
The GA has long ago decided that annual fee for member associations should be EUR 500. In practice very few Green seniors’ associations have a possibility to pay such a fee. Financing of the activity of the ENGS comes mainly as a yearly contribution from the EGP, partly monetary contributions from member states’ associations, and partly from member organizations paying for travel costs of their representants.
The GA could not find any possibility to improve the situation towards a more stable flow of income. The GA decided to keep the EUR 500 membership fee as a direction.
10. Plan and budget and the current finances
Kris Fierens and Vivianne Gunnarsson presented the plan and budget for 2021. The GA adopted both plan and budget unanimously.
11. Proposals from the Board
The Board has during 2019 and 2020 worked with some changes of the statutes. The Board has, however, decided to postpone discussion on this to the next physical GA. Therefore, no proposals were presented for the GA.
12. Elections of chairwoman/man, treasurer, secretary general, decision about the number of members of the Board, election of Board members in addition to the elected ones
Introduction: In accordance with Article 8.2 of the statutes “The organization is run by the Board, consisting of at least three members, among which the president, secretary general and treasurer. The members are elected by the GA for 3 years and their mandate can be renewed two times.”
In November 2019 Board members for three years, i. e. until GA 2022, were elected:
- Vivianne Gunnarsson, Sweden, vice chair, (promised to continue for one year up to 2020 and then again up till 2021) will leave after this meeting
- Frank Hauser, Germany, secretary general (promised to continue for one year up to 2020 and then again up till 2021)
- Kris Fierens, Belgium, treasurer
- Reino Lampinen, Finland, legal officer (promised to continue for one year up to 2020 and then again up till 2021)
- Christa Möller, Germany, responsible for facebook and homepage
- Agneta Granström, Sweden
- Irmgard Seidler, Austria
The position of president was left vacant because none of the Board members volunteered to take the position. Vivianne Gunnarsson volunteered to act up to 2021 as vice-chair for the meetings of GA and the Board. She has three times stayed as a member of the Board for three years periods and will leave at this GA. Frank Hauser did not want to continue as secretary general but volunteered to take any other post in the Board. Reino Lampinen applied to the post as Secretary General for one year.
Decision: The position of president/chair for the forthcoming period is left vacant since no one applied. The position of Kris Fierens as treasurer was confirmed. The GA elected Reino Lampinen for the position as secretary General for one year. Decision about the number of members of the Board: The GA decided to elect seven members to the Board.
Election or confirming of Board members in addition to the elected ones Candidates for next period until 2023/24:
- Frank Hauser, Germany
- Erwin Schaefer, England and Wales, was proposed to be chosen as a new member of the Board.
The position of chair/president will be vacant (must be elected at a forthcoming GA).
Decision about confirming and election: The GA confirmed the members of the Board as follows:
- Treasurer Kris Fierens, Belgium, until 2022
- Secretary General Reino Lampinen, Finland, until 2022
- Confirmed Christa Möller, Germany, until 2022
- Confirmed Agneta Granström, Sweden, until 2022
- Confirmed Irmgard Seidler, Austria, until 2022
- Elected Frank Hauser, Germany for three years up to 2024
- Elected Erwin Schaefer, England and Wales for three years, up to 2024
All decisions above were made unanimously.
Reminder: The Board can/will choose a vice chair, a legal adviser, one member responsible for web/facebook and possible other members responsible for further responsibilities at the first meeting after this GA.
13. Motions from members
No motions were presented.
14. Other questions raised
No other questions were raised.
Vivianne Gunnarsson thanked everyone for attending the meeting. Frank Hauser presented a gratitude from the Board to the chair of the meeting and for her work as a vice chair of ENGS.
The meeting was closed at 13.00.
Vivianne Gunnarsson Chair of the GA
Tom van der Wal Confirmation of the Minutes
Reino Lampinen Secretary of the GA
Annual report for the year 2020
European network of Green Seniors, ENGS is officially an international organisation under Belgian law and at the same time a network within EGP with financial support from EGP and some member organisations.
During 2020 ENGS has not had any physical Board meetings nor any General Assembly because of the Corona pandemic which has resulted in major lockdown and restrictions in Europe as well as in the whole world. To compensate for the non-realizable physical board meetings, we carried through five virtual Board meetings, 9/5, 8/6, 21/9, 10/11 and 7/12. The General Assembly, planned for December, had to be cancelled due to the pandemic.
The Board was elected in Tampere November 2019 and consisted of:
Vivianne Gunnarsson, Sweden, Vice president
Jan Kris Fierens, Belgium, Treasurer
Frank Hauser, Germany, Secretary general
Reino Lampinen, Finland, Legal adviser
Christa Möller, Germany, Communication
Irmgard Seidler, Austria, Fellow
Agneta Granström, Sweden, Fellow
The post as President is still vacant.
In June EGP was supposed to have 31st Council meeting in Skopje. Due to the corona pandemic the meeting was carried out as a virtual meeting and ENGS could not attend it. However, ENGS sent a position paper for the EGP council, a Declaration on Corona and the aged, convention by Network of Green Seniors on Covid-19 virus and beyond. Four members of the Board presented the essentials from the Convention in a video which was repeatedly sent in the conference and is still on ENGS ́s homepage. We also sent another paper to the EGP specifically directed to the situation of the elderly, “Ensure participation for the elderly in the corona pandemic and break through social isolation”.
In October ENGS sent a letter to EGP with motivation to become a proper side organisation with voting rights and a right to make amendments to EGP documents and proposals, “European network of green seniors, ENGS as a side organisation to EGP”. On the 18th of November we got the answer “Unfortunately we will not be able to support your proposal at this time, given the current capacities of ENGS”. Instead, we were offered a meeting for further conversation. This meeting took place in January 2021.
The 32nd EGP council took place in Warsaw 4-6 December. Only EGP elected and Greens from Poland could participate in person. The Council was closed from others and they, including ENGS, could only participate virtually on the 5th of December in a program with opening, panels and parallel meetings. ENGS had the banner and announcement to our homepage and facebook group in a virtual showroom. Vivianne Gunnarsson presented ENGS and our 15 years anniversary in a video which was open before and during the conference. It can now be found on ENGS homepage.
For the fringe meeting in Warsaw Christa Möller made a video presentation about “Age-friendly cities” and Frank Hauser moderated the event. It was much appreciated and about 50 persons visited the event. Christa Möller got an invitation by Miriam Kenneth from Green Economics Institute in Oxford to give a shortened version on their winter warming day. We followed up the names of the participants and found several listeners who could be interested in further elaboration with ENGS.
During the year we have updated the document History of ENGS and frequently discussed on modernising of our statutes. The new statutes will be decided on the next general meeting. The homepage and facebook group are under development by a consultant engaged by the ENGS. Internet communication become more and more important for contacts. In order to be visible, we encourage members to be active in these two media more frequently. As before, ENGS has no possibility to reach individual members or member organisations. We must go via the parties in each country and use the EGP secretariat ́s assistance. This results in difficulties to reach interested persons and to act jointly. Therefore, as a means to get more personal contacts we have begun to invite persons as guests to our board meetings.
ENGS thanks the EGP administration for their service and kind cooperation before and during the meetings, especially the virtual ones.
For the board 25 January 2021
Vivianne Gunnarsson, Jan Kris Fierens, Agneta Granström, Frank Hauser, Reino Lampinen, Irmgard Seidler, Christa Möller