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This Statute of the charter (henceforth Statute) establishes the rules of procedure that regulate the preparation and processing of the Charter and Charter Proposals, as well as the general principles for the activities and cooperation of the different persons, associations and assemblies in connection with the Charter.

1. Background

1.1 The predecessor of the Charter was The Social Contract signed on 20 October 2003 (henceforth Contract).

1.2 By its nature, the Contract is a social and political declaration, rather than a legal contract. Taking into account the decreasing topicality of many of the Contract’s articles as well as the fact that the Contract is no longer legally binding, while also being mindful of the increasing historical value of the Contract, it has been decided that Charters will henceforth be adopted to replace the Contract.

2. Charter

2.1 The Charter is a programmatic document that reflects the positions of the Estonian Cooperation Assembly foundation (henceforth Foundation) and the Charter Forum on the topical and strategic issues associated with the development of Estonian society (henceforth Charter). The term of validity of the Charter is determined when the Charter is adopted. The usual term of validity of the Charter is 3 years.

2.2 The initial version of the Charter project will be drafted by the management of the Foundation.

2.3 The council of the Foundation will draft the final version of the Charter project.

2.4 The council of the Foundation will present the Charter project to the Charter Forum for discussion. The opinions of the Charter Forum regarding the Charter project will be presented in the form of decisions of the general meeting of the Charter Forum.

2.5 The Charter will be adopted by the council of the Foundation.

3. Charter Proposals

3.1 Charter Proposals are documents prepared and processed on the basis of the Charter, which are used as applications to appropriate persons and/or institutions for the performance of operations that belong to their sphere of competence in order to facilitate the implementation of Charter positions (henceforth Charter Proposals).

3.2 Charter Proposals are submitted to the Parliament of Estonia (Riigikogu) and/or the Government of the Republic and/or the President of the Republic and/or the relevant ministries and/or other appropriate persons and/or institutions for obtaining the opinion thereof and enabling the performance of the relevant operations.

3.3 Charter Proposal projects are drafted by the council of the Foundation and are submitted to the Working Groups and Expert Groups of the Charter Forum for the discussion and submission of proposals for supplementation or amendment, if the Foundation has created the appropriate Working Groups and Expert Groups for the purpose of processing the Charter Proposal projects.

3.4 Charter Proposals will be adopted by the council of the Foundation.

3.5 The proceedings connected to the implementation of the Charter Proposals will be carried out by the management of the Foundation which will, where necessary, involve members of the council of the Foundation and members of the Working Groups and Expert Groups of the Charter Forum in the process.

4. Parties to the Charter

4.1 At the time of approving this Statute, the Parties to the Charter include all parties to the Contract, unless the latter have decided otherwise and have informed the council of the Foundation of their decision in writing. Parties to the Charter do not include the political parties who were parties to the Contract; the political parties are invited to participate in the work of the Chamber of Partners of the Charter.

4.2 All Estonian persons in public law (except for the Republic of Estonia and local governments), foundations and non-profit associations that are registered in Estonia, have a national significance, and operate in the public interest, and universities may be Parties to the Charter. Political parties and the associated bodies of political parties (e.g. youth councils) cannot be Parties to the Charter.

4.3 The decision to accept person in public law as a Party to the Charter is made by the council of the Foundation.

5. Charter Forum

5.1 The Charter Forum is the body for the cooperation of authorised representatives of the Parties to the Charter.

5.2 The work formats of the Charter Forum are annual meetings and thematic meetings.

5.3 Annual meetings are held at least once a year, preferably during the first half of each calendar year. Annual meetings are called by the council of the Foundation. Annual meetings shall discuss issues connected to a Charter and/or the implementation of Charter Proposals and make decisions on these issues, which the Foundation shall take into consideration as advisory decisions. Agenda items characteristic of thematic meetings can also be included in the agenda of an annual meeting. The provisions of the Statute that regulate the jurisdiction of thematic meetings and the status of the decisions thereof shall be applied to discussions concerning such agenda items.

5.4. When necessary, thematic meetings are called by the council of the Foundation in order to discuss specific issues related to the Charter, especially the preparation of a new Charter and/or Charter Proposals. The proposals of the Charter Forum concerning the amendment and/or supplementation of a Charter and/or Charter Proposals must be reflected by the council of the Foundations in the Charter and/or Charter Proposals.

5.5 The council of the Foundation shall inform the Parties to the Charter of the agenda, time and venue of a Charter Forum meeting as well as any other important details connected to the meeting no later than one month before the meeting takes place.

5.6. Charter Forum meetings are chaired by the Presidency of the Charter Forum, which is elected during each meeting. Until the Presidency of the Charter Forum has been elected, each Charter Forum meeting is chaired by a member of the management of the Foundation.

5.7 Decisions on the inclusion of agenda items in the agenda of a Charter Forum meeting are made by the council of the Foundation. By a ¾ majority vote of the Parties to the Charter present at the meeting, a Charter Forum meeting may include additional agenda items related to a Charter and/or Charter Proposals in the agenda of the meeting.

5.8 A Charter Forum meeting has a quorum when at least half of the Parties to the Charter are present. Regardless of the number of the representatives participating in a meeting on behalf of a Party to the Charter, each Party to the Charter shall have one vote at the meeting.

5.9 A Charter Forum shall pursue a consensus on the decisions. If a consensus cannot be reached, decisions shall be approved by majority vote. A decision of a Charter Forum meeting is considered to have been approved when more than half of the Parties to the Charter participating in the meeting vote in favour of it, unless otherwise specified in this Statute. In the case of the election of persons, the person who receives more votes is considered to have been elected.

5.10 Charter Forum meetings shall approve decisions by open vote, unless the meeting implements a secret ballot based on a decision approved by a ¾ majority of the Parties to the Charter present at the meeting.

5.11 Charter Forum meetings are recorded in the minutes. The minutes are taken by the Presidency of the Charter Forum. Parties to the Charter who have dissenting opinions regarding a decision of the meeting can demand that their opinions be recorded in the minutes.

6. Presidency of the Charter Forum

6.1 A Charter Forum meeting shall elect a three-member Presidency of the Charter Forum (henceforth Presidency) to chair the meeting, draft the positions adopted by the meeting and record the minutes of the meeting.

6.2 Members of the Presidency shall elect the chairperson of the Charter Forum from among themselves.

7. Working Groups and Expert Groups of the Charter Forum

7.1 Working Groups of the Charter Forum are formed, when necessary, to draft the topic-specific positions of the Charter Forum with regard to a Charter project. Both representatives of Parties to the Charter as well as outside experts can be appointed to Thematic Working Groups.

7.2 Expert Groups of the Charter Forum are formed, when necessary, by the Foundation to draft topic-specific positions with regard to Charter Proposal projects. Both representatives of Parties to the Charter as well as outside experts can be appointed to Expert Groups.

8. Chamber of Partners of the Charter

8.1 The management of the Foundation, in wishing to promote comprehensive cooperation between the forms of participatory democracy and representative democracy in the development of civil society, invites all of the political parties registered in Estonia to participate in the Chamber of Partners of the Charter (henceforth Chamber of Partners).

8.2 The meetings of the Chamber of Partners are prepared and conducted by the management of the Foundation. The meetings take place when necessary.

8.3 The meetings of the Chamber of Partners include discussion on topical issues related to the Charter as well as the implementation of Charter Proposals.

9. Cooperation of the Foundation and the Charter Forum

9.1 The management of the Foundation provides the technical foundation and financing for the activities of the Charter Forum, the Presidency, the Working Groups and the Expert Groups within the limits of the budget of the Foundation, in accordance with the guidelines of the council of the Foundation.

9.2 In order to develop the discussion on civil society and determine or shape broad-based opinions, the management of the Foundation shall, from time to time, organise local and thematic discussion forums concerning issues that are connected to a Charter and Charter projects as well as Charter Proposals and Charter Proposal projects, and other issues that are relevant for society.

Veeb: MKoort