Statutes of ECCO

Chapter 1: Name, seat and field of activities

  • 1.1. The organization is named "European Crohn's and Colitis Organization", ECCO.
  • 1.2. The legal seat is Belgium, Hofstade 1981, Hofgrachtlaan 32. The location of this seat can be changed by simple majority decision of the governing board.
  • 1.3. ECCO acts inside Europe but encourages cooperation beyond Europe"s borders.
  • 1.4. The organization has been founded for an unlimited period of time. It can discontinue its activities at any time.
  • 1.5. ECCO will inform the medical, scientific and academic community about its activities and results.
  • 1.6. While carrying out its activities, the goal of ECCO will never be to establish financial profits. It will act without national, linguistic, religious or philosophical preference.
  • 1.7. ECCO can receive financial support from public or private origin. It can create specific funds which will be managed apart from or together with the organization"s patrimonium.
  • 1.8. The working language of ECCO will be English; its daily currency will be the Euro.
  • 1.9. The organs of ECCO are the general assembly and the governing board.

Chapter 2: Objectives

  • 2.1. ECCO is the umbrella organization of the national study groups performing and coordinating research work in the field of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
  • 2.2. The goals of the group are as follows but are not restricted to:
    - to promote, sponsor and steer European international research efforts in the field of IBD
    - to develop and help to develop protocols for studies which can be performed in European centers
    - to organize education and exchange in the field of IBD
    - to develop cooperation with patient organizations and other organizations sharing interest in IBD
    - to enhance European research quality in the field of IBD
    - to establish consensus and challenge dogmas in the field of IBD
    - to have a political voice in Europe and interact with the pharmaceutical industry
    - to educate "nurse specialists" in IBD and promote this type of education
    - participate in the activities of the United European Gastroenterology Federation UEGF and in the organization of the annual UEGW
    - influence the future of IBD management in Europe

Chapter 3: Members

  • 3.1. The members of the group are national IBD study groups, rather than individuals. These study groups cover a well-defined geographic area, generally an entire country. They are active in IBD research and meet at least once per year. New groups can apply for ECCO-membership through a letter to the president. This candidacy will be evaluated on a case by case basis. All the group-members will pay an annual fee to ECCO before January 31st for the current fiscal year. If the contribution is not paid in time, the member loses its voting right until the amount has been paid. Every group (member) has one representative (elected by its own group) in the general assembly who serves as "contact person". For the bigger countries (Britain, Germany, Italy, France and Spain) a second representative with rights to vote may be accepted upon request to and approval by the governing board. The representatives will be expected to attend at least one meeting per year. A seat in the general assembly will also be offered to a representative of the European patient organization EFCCA.
  • 3.2. The membership starts when the general assembly has agreed to the membership and ends when the member organisation declares its withdrawal or when penalised by the general assembly for major breaches of ECCO"s rules, principles or practice. It may also end when the general assembly excludes a member for a severe reason.
  • 3.3. Rights and duties of members: Member organisations have the right to receive all information regarding the work of ECCO via their representative. All the national representatives have the right to participate in the general assembly and to participate in the working groups taking place in connection with the general assembly.

Chapter 4: General assembly

  • 4.0. The general assembly is the supreme organ of ECCO. It is constituted by the representatives of all individual members. The chair is taken by the chairman of the governing board. Its annual meeting preferably takes place during the United European Gastroenterology Week (UEGW). Every member has the right to be represented by one or (in the case of britain, Germany, Italy, France and Spain) two appointed representatives.
  • 4.1. Requests concerning the agenda of the general assembly have to be sent to the secretary at least 1 month prior to the annual meeting. Resolutions can only be decided about topics placed on the agenda. Urgent material can be discussed under any other business but definitive resolution of these topics may not be possible.
  • 4.2. The general assembly may decide resolutions only if at least half of the members are represented. If less than half of the members are represented, resolutions can be decided at least 30 minutes after the official start of the meeting independent of the number of members present. Resolutions and elections are taken by majority of votes. Changes of the statutes require a two-third majority. In case of equality of votes, the governing board"s votes prevail. Every member of this board will have one vote.
  • 4.3. Specific duties of the general assembly are as follows:
    - to approve or deny requests for membership
    - to exclude members which have not paid their annual contribution or for severe other reasons
    - to decide on the amount of the annual contribution
    - election of the governing board
    - the assembly has to be informed about the activities of the governing board
    - to change the statutes of ECCO with two-thirds majorities only
    - to develop, discuss, approve and coordinate individual projects as outlined in chapter 2

Chapter 5: Governing board

  • 5.0. The governing board consists of 7 members and is elected among the representatives of the members (groups). Elected members always serve a term of 2 years. A member of the board can be reelected for the same position only once. The president-elect will automatically become president after 2 years. The past-president will automatically become liaison officer. In case a member of the board has to retire for whatever reason, the remaining board members have the right to co-opt a temporary replacement until the next general assembly. The governing board has to meet at least twice per year. Board members can be excluded from the board if they remain absent for 3 consecutive meetings. The board may appoint working groups for special subjects.
  • 5.1. Specific duties of the governing board are as follows:
    - to chair the general assembly
    - to prepare the program for the general assembly meeting
    - to supervise ongoing projects approved by the general assembly
    - to inform the general assembly about project proposals, current activities and future goals
    - to submit a financial report to the general assembly annually
    - to contact the pharmaceutical industry for cooperation and funding
  • 5.2. Composition of the governing board: positions
    - President
    - President-elect
    - Past-president
    - Secretary
    - Treasurer
    - Liaison committee: 1 position (past-president from 2006 onwards)
    - Educational committee: 1 position
    - Scientific committee: 1 position
  • As an associate member of UEGF, ECCO will have three representatives: 1 in the council (temporary) , 1 in the educational committee (permanent, to be repalced every 3 years) and 1 in the scientific committee (permanent).

Chapter 6: Dissolution

  • 6.0. In case of dissolution the assets of ECCO should be transferred to an organization working in a similar charitable field of activity. All that is not explicitly foreseen in these existing statutes is to be regulated according to the belgian law published on June 27, 1921 related to non-profit organizations.

Chapter 7: Funding

  • 7.0. ECCO will have two sources of income. First, an annual membership fee will be charged to the national member groups. Second, an annual sponsorship will be asked to major pharmaceutical companies active in the field of IBD, with a commitment for 1 to 3 years. In addition, research grants can be collected from national and international scientific organizations and governments. The treasurer will take care of collection of this money and open an account in an International Bank.

Chapter 8: Foundation in Vienna in March, 2001 and election of the first governing board

  • 8.0. The following members were elected for the board of directors at the meeting of 26 September 2004 in Prague:
    - President: Renzo Caprilli, Rome, Italy (1 more year, second term until end 2005)
    - President-elect: Miguel Gassull, Badelona, Spain (until end 2005)
    - Secretary: Geert D'Haens, Leuven, Belgium
    - Treasurer: Herbert Tilg, Innsbruck, Austria
    - Liaison committee: the past-president and until end 2005 Stefan Schreiber (Kiel, Germany)
    - Educational committee: Boris Vucelic (Zagreb, Croatia)
    - Scientific committee: Daan Hommes (Amsterdam, the Netherlands)
  • Positions at UEGF:
    - Council: Renzo Caprilli (temporary)
    - Scientific Committee: Geert D'Haens (until Copenhagen)
    - Educational committee: Renzo Caprilli