Rules of Procedure of the Council of the European Meteorological Society e.V. (EMS)
- revised at the 24th Session of Council on 18 March 2011
- revised at the 38th Session of Council, approved by the General Assembly 02 Sept 2018
- revised at the 46th Session of Council, approved by the General Assembly 31 Aug 2021
- revised at the 48th Session of Council, approved by the GA on 4 September 2022
- revised at the 50th Session of Council on 28 March 2023
Composition of the Council
Observers and experts
Convocation and agenda of sessions of Council
Conduct of Debates
Publicity of Meetings
General Rules for Voting
Voting at Council
Voting by Correspondence
Minutes and Documents
Annual report to the General Assembly
The Council may amend these Rules of Procedure at any time, subject only to their being consistent with the Constitution and with the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly.
Composition of the Council
Each Member Society elected at a General Assembly to provide representation on the Council shall communicate to the Executive Secretary of the Society the name of the person from that Society who will represent it at the Council. For continuity, the Representative normally shall remain for the entire representation term. In addition to the Representatives, the President will be a voting member of Council in case the person is not already a Representative. Members of Council are defined as either being a Representative or the EMS President; these are referred to as “member” with lower-case letter, to differentiate from Representative Member which refers to the Society represented on Council.
In addition to the provision of Rule 2, where a State has more than one Member Society and the Member Societies of that State have been elected by the EMS General Assembly to serve on the Council, the Member Societies in that State shall communicate to the Executive Secretary which Society (to be known as a Representative Society) shall represent all the Member Societies of that State in Council.
Should this State wish to share this representation between two Societies, the Council may agree with it, applying the following guidelines:
- both the Representative and the Deputy need to commit to attend all Sessions during the full three-year term; and
- it is recommended that the changeover of representation is happening at half term, i.e. after one and half years.
Member Societies which have not paid their subscription for the preceding year shall not be eligible for election to the Council, neither, if already elected, shall they continue to provide a Representative to serve on the Council, nor to nominate one of their members for election as an Officer of the EMS. However, individuals from such Member Societies already elected as Officers shall continue to serve for the period for which they were elected.
Membership of Council begins immediately following the General Assembly at which a Member is elected.
6.1 Associate Members who do not have permanent observer status as defined in article 5.2.7 of the Constitution are assigned by a Council vote to one of the following Council categories:
(1) national or regional weather services;
(2) meteorological manufacturers and companies;
(3) meteorological service providers in the private sector;
(4) major meteorological research and/or education institutes.
6.2 Each category may select amongst its members the Associate Member which shall represent them at the next Council session. The result of this selection is submitted to the Executive Secretary by the selected Associate Member before the next Council session.
Observers and experts
7.1 The following persons are entitled to attend a Council session as observers :
(i) single representatives of Associate Members with permanent observer status as defined in article 5.2.7 of the Constitution;
(ii) single representatives of Associate Member categories as defined under Rule 6;
(iii) chairpersons of Council committees as designated under Rule 61.
7.2 The Bureau may decide by a simple majority vote to invite persons of the following categories to attend one or more of its sessions as observers :
(i) representatives of EMS Member Societies which presently are not serving on the Council;
(ii) representatives of non-European Meteorological Societies, or of organizations with which EMS has cooperative agreements;
(iii) experts whose presence is relevant to the current Council agenda.
7.3 The Council in session may decide by a two-thirds majority vote that observers invited under Rule 7.2 are invited to attend all subsequent sessions of the Council until the invitation is withdrawn.
The conditions under which observers can attend a session of the Council shall be as follows:
(i) for each person who will attend a Council session as observer, notification of his or her identity must be in the hands of the Executive Secretary before the session;
(ii) observers shall not have a vote;
(iii) observers shall not attend any part of the session which is held in camera;
(iv) observers will receive the full documentation without confidential documents and documents for in camera.
A session of Council may, in particular cases, add to or modify the conditions listed in Rules 7
Convocation and agenda of sessions of Council
The President shall convene sessions of the Council at least once between any two General Assembly sessions. The Council Session may be held as a physical meeting in the country of a Member, as a virtual meeting using video or telephone conferencing tools, or as a hybrid meeting involving both a virtual and physical presence. The format and in case of a physical or hybrid meeting the date and place are agreed by the Council, the decision being made by simple majority of the members participating in the event and participating in the vote, or at the written request of Member Societies of at least two different States, the request to be addressed to the President through the Executive Secretary, stating the matters to be placed on the agenda.
The agenda for a session of Council shall be decided by the Council, but a provisional agenda shall be established by the President with the assistance of the Executive Secretary, taking due account of any requests made under Rule 10 or Rule 13.
Notice of the convening of a session of Council, and the provisional agenda, shall be sent to all members of Council as soon as possible and, except for rare emergency sessions, at least six weeks before the date of the session. Any documentation relating to items on the provisional agenda should be sent to all members as soon as possible and, except for rare emergency sessions, at least three weeks before the date of the session, in the English language. Any additional documents for consideration during the session should be sent to the members as soon as they are available.
Any Representative of a Council Member may propose the addition of items to the provisional agenda at any time, but preferably at least two weeks before the beginning of the session. Such proposals should be addressed to the President, through the Executive Secretary, accompanied by explanatory memoranda. They shall, if sent in at least two weeks before the session, be sent out by the Executive Secretary to the members of Council in the English language.
The provisional agenda shall be submitted to the Council for approval as soon as possible after opening of the session. The Council may amend the agenda at any time.
Under Article 5.2.4 of the Constitution, the presence (physical or virtual) of seven members of Council shall constitute a quorum at a session of Council, except that, one of those participating shall be an Officer of the EMS (see Articles 5.2.1 and 5.3 of the Constitution). If a session has less than seven members participating, or no Officer is participating, it shall adjourn and reconvene one hour later. It shall adjourn in this fashion not more than twice. Any informal discussions which take place may be recorded and notified to the President by any one present.
Conduct of debates
In addition to exercising any power conferred upon the person elsewhere in these Rules of Procedure, the Presiding Officer (see Rules 15 and 31) shall open the sessions, direct the discussions, ensure the observance of the provisions of the Constitution and of the Rules of Procedure, accord the right to speak, put questions to the vote and announce decisions. The Presiding Officer shall ensure the maintenance of order at the sessions, and shall rule on points of order and shall have, in particular, the power, subject to there not being a two-thirds majority vote against, to adjourn or close a debate and to adjourn or close a session.
The Presiding Officer may call a speaker to order if the Presiding Officer considers remarks are irrelevant to the subject under discussion. Subject to the provisions of Rule 18, the time allowed to each speaker may be limited by the Presiding Officer.
Proposals shall normally be debated and voted upon in the sequence in which they have been presented.
During the debate on an item of the agenda, members of Council may present proposals on, or amendments to, the subject under consideration.
A point of order raised by any Representative Speaker shall be decided by the Presiding Officer, in accordance with the existing Rules of Procedure and usually immediately (see Rules 29 and 30). A Representative Speaker may appeal against the ruling of the Presiding Officer. Discussion on such an appeal shall be limited to the appellant and the Presiding Officer. If the appeal is maintained, it shall be put to the vote immediately and the ruling of the Presiding Officer shall stand unless that ruling is overruled by an appropriate majority of the Representative Member Societies present and voting (see Rules 36, 37, 38, 39, 40 and 41).
Neither the speaker raising a point of order nor any other speaker may speak on the subject under discussion until the point of order raised in the context of that subject has been determined.
If two or more amendments to a motion, or to an amendment are proposed, a discussion shall be held and a vote shall be taken first on the amendment furthest removed in substance from the original proposal or amendment, and then on the amendment next furthest removed until all the amendments maintained have been put to the vote. The Presiding Officer shall have the power to determine the order of voting on amendments under this Rule, guided by Rule 18.
A proposal or an amendment may be withdrawn by the proposer unless an amendment to it is under discussion or has been adopted.
Amendments shall be voted on before the proposal or amendment to which they refer. When all amendments have been disposed of, the original proposal, as modified by adopted amendments, shall be voted on.
A Representative of a Council Member may request that parts of a proposal, document or amendment be voted on separately. If objection is made to the request for division, the request for division shall be voted upon. Permission to speak on the request for division shall be given at most to two speakers in favour and two speakers against. If the request for division is accepted, those parts of the proposal, document or amendment which are approved individually shall subsequently be put to the vote as a whole.
During the discussion of any matter, a Representative of a Council Member may propose the postponement of the debate to a specified time. Such proposals shall not be debated, but shall immediately be put to a vote.
A Representative of a Council Member may propose at any time the adjournment or the suspension of the session. Such a proposal shall not be debated, but shall immediately be put to a vote.
A Representative of a Council Member may at any time propose the closure of the debate, whether or not any other Representatives of a Council Member has signified a wish to speak. Permission to speak on the closure of the debate may be accorded to not more than two other Representatives both opposing the closure, after which the proposal shall be immediately put to a vote.
The following proposals shall have precedence in the following order over other proposals before the session: a) to suspend the session; b) to adjourn or to close the session; c) to adjourn the debate on the item under discussion; d) to close the debate on the item under discussion; e) to discuss a point of order (see Rules 20, 26, 27 and 30).
After the Presiding Officer has announced that voting has begun, no one may interrupt the voting, except on a point of order concerning the manner of conducting a vote. The Presiding Officer may permit members of Council to explain their vote, either before or after the count, except in cases where a secret ballot (see Rules 48 and 49) is held.
If for any reasons the President resigns or is unable to carry out his function, the Vice-President shall have the same powers and duties as the President. If the Vice-President is not participating the Treasurer shall have the same powers and duties as the President. If no EMS Officer is participating, the Council does not have a quorum (see Rule 15).
Persons with a financial or personal interest in the outcome of any debate should declare it to the session and neither speak nor vote in that debate. The Executive Secretary shall normally leave the room meeting when the person’s conduct, employment, personal emoluments and conditions of service are being discussed, though this should normally be overridden if the debate includes similar matters for staff for whom the Executive Secretary is responsible. Decisions – but not an account of the debate – taken in the absence of the Executive Secretary shall be announced to the Executive Secretary and the Council by the Presiding Officer, and shall be included in the minutes of the session prepared by the Executive Secretary.
Publicity of meetings
Unless otherwise decided, session of the Council shall be held in private. On decision of the Council, the whole or a part of a session may be held in public or in camera.
Sessions shall be strictly restricted to members of Council and to those persons whose presence has been agreed to (see Rule 7).
Public statements on behalf of the Council upon the proceedings and conclusions of the Council shall be issued only by the President, a person authorized by the President or a person authorized by the Council.
General rules for voting
The President, Vice-President and Treasurer (see Article 5.3 of the Constitution) are elected by simple majority of the Council.
Unless otherwise specified in the Constitution or these Rules of Procedure, all decisions of the Council shall be determined by a simple majority of the votes cast for and against (see Rules 38 and 41).
The number of votes needed to constitute a simple majority shall be the next integer immediately above half the votes cast for and against.
Financial matters shall be decided by a two-thirds majority of the votes cast for and against (see Rules 40, 41 and 44).
If an equal number of votes is cast for and against a simple-majority proposal the Presiding Officer shall have a casting vote.
In instances when a member is prevented from participating by force majeure, the member concerned shall, if possible, so notify the Executive Secretary or the President of the EMS.
In instances when a member has notified the Executive Secretary or President of the EMS that it has been prevented from participating in the vote by force majeure as stated in rule 41, and the force majeure was accepted as stated in rule 43: In case the result of a vote could have been reverted by one additional vote, the decision shall be postponed.
For the purposes of Rules 41 and 42, what constitutes force majeure, shall be decided by simple majority (see Rules 37, 38 and 41).
The Presiding Officer shall decide which matters are financial matters (see Rules 39, 40 and 41).
Voting at Council sessions
At the beginning of each session of Council, the Presiding Officer shall examine whether the number of members participating constitutes a quorum as defined in Article 5.2.4 of the Constitution and Rule 15 above.
The count of the number of members includes physically present members as well as those participating in a virtual or hybrid meeting using video or telephone conferencing tools.
Voting shall normally be by show of hands of members. However, any member may request a vote by roll-call, which shall be taken in alphabetical order of the full names of the members. If a vote by roll-call takes place, the vote or abstention of each member shall be recorded in the minutes of the session of Council.
At the request of at least two members participating at the session, voting shall be by secret ballot. Voting by secret ballot shall take precedence over vote by roll-call if both have been requested.
- For virtual or hybrid sessions a secret ballot for specific decisions has to be requested in advance, until 2 weeks before the opening of the session; This request will have to be put to a vote by correspondence by Council immediately and votes returned within 5 days. Electronic voting for such a decision has to be prepared in advance of the session by the secretariat, employing comparatively
secure voting tools; the voting will then take place after the discussion of the specific item during the Council session. The Executive Secretary shall report the result of the electronic voting during the Council session.
- For physical meetings: In all votes by secret ballot two tellers shall be appointed by the Council from among the members participating to count the votes, assisted by the Executive Secretary or other persons chosen by the Council. Tellers shall write down their votes before they collect the votes of the other members.
In cases of doubt about the validity of voting slips or online voting results, the Presiding Officer shall decide.
For secret ballots, only the number of votes for and against, and the number of abstentions, shall be recorded in the minutes of the session.
Voting by Correspondence
A vote by correspondence is a ballot in which votes are cast through electronic communication means; it can be called by the President at any time between sessions of the Council at the request of at least two Council Members. The invitation to vote can be sent around to the Council Members at once upon receipt of the request, if it concerns (a) an urgent matter, (b) a matter which has been described earlier by the EMS Council in session as something which should be settled in this fashion or (c) an uncontroversial or procedural matter for which a prompt decision will enhance the effectiveness or efficiency of EMS’s activities. For other matters, sending out an invitation to vote by correspondence must be preceded by sending around adequate information on the matter to be voted upon not less than 10 days earlier, so that members who wish to exchange views on the matter can do so before the invitation to vote is sent out.
In case that EMS is contacted for urgently supporting a statement on behalf of its Members, the Bureau will assess the statement as to its potential relevance and importance, as well as to issues being critical, and decide whether Council needs to be consulted (vote by correspondence) or the Bureau can take such a decision. In the latter case, Council members will be informed about the support provided on their behalf.
Voting by correspondence shall be conducted by the Executive Secretary. Any proposal submitted to a vote by correspondence shall be arranged so that independent questions are voted upon separately.
Votes by correspondence must be received exclusively by the Executive Secretary within 30 days of the date on which the invitation to vote was sent to Council Members. Votes received after that date, and votes circulated to others than the Executive Secretary alone, shall be considered invalid.
The quorum for voting by correspondence shall be the same as that required during a session of Council. If the number of replies received by the Executive Secretary during the period specified in Rule 53 does not reach the required quorum, the proposal shall be considered to be rejected; in that case it may, however, be re-submitted at the next session of Council.
A statement certifying the results of the voting by correspondence shall be established by the Executive Secretary. Unless instructed otherwise by the Council, the Executive Secretary shall retain the votes in the form they were cast until the end of the subsequent General Assembly or session of Council, whichever is the later.
The Executive Secretary shall communicate the results of a vote by correspondence to all members in the form of numbers of votes cast for and against and the number of abstentions, and a list showing the votes of individual members. Voting by correspondence shall not be secret and Rule 49 shall not apply to votes by correspondence.
Minutes and Documents
Except in rare emergency sessions of the Council (see Rule 12), the Executive Secretary shall ensure the that all documents distributed during, and intended for consideration in, a session of Council shall be distributed to participants in the session at least eighteen hours before the opening of the session at which they are to be discussed.
Rule 58.1 The Executive Secretary shall prepare a list of decisions and summarized minutes, giving the substance of the discussions and the decisions taken at each session of the Council.
Rule 58.2 The decisions and a first draft of the minutes, reviewed by the President shall be distributed within four weeks after the end of the session to all participants of the session, who may suggest amendments in writing to the Executive Secretary within thirty days following the date of distribution. Any disagreement on the subject of these proposed changes shall be settled by the President, after consultation with the appellant or participants concerned. Those decisions and minutes, to which no objection in the English language has been made within thirty days of its postal dispatch, shall be held to be adopted. Where objections have been received, the relevant parts of the minutes or decisions shall be held to be adopted, in their amended form if appropriate, once the President has decided on the text. The text of any amendment to the first draft minutes shall be distributed to all Council Members.
The Executive Secretary shall distribute Minutes approved by the President as rapidly as possible to all Members, members of Council, and to such other participants in the session as the President may decide. The texts of all decisions and recommendations made by the Council, and a list of actions, shall be annexed.
Annual Report to the General Assembly
The Council shall make a Report, including an audited financial report, to each annual General Assembly.
The Council is authorized to establish committees and other subsidiary bodies as it sees fit, subject to overall financial constraints decided by the General Assembly. The Rules of Procedure of these subsidiary bodies should be broadly consistent with the Rules of Procedure of the Council and the General Assembly. Nomination of the chairperson of the subsidiary body is subject to approval by Council. Subsidiary bodies shall, wherever possible, carry out their proceedings by correspondence.
The Council is authorized to approve Memoranda of Understanding with partner organisations. Whenever possible, Members should be informed at an early stage about any agreements that are envisioned or developed with other organisations.
Travel and subsistence expenses of persons attending sessions of Council, and meetings of subsidiary bodies established by the Council, shall normally be borne by their own Societies.
Bodies established by the Council shall submit annual reports, including financial reports if appropriate, to the Council.
Unless otherwise specified by the Constitution, by a General Assembly or by the Council, the Rules of Procedure applicable to the General Assembly apply to the proceedings of any bodies set up by either the Assembly or by the Council.
There shall be a bank account at a bank in the country where the Society has its Seat (Constitution Article 5.5.3). Individual cheques and purchase orders on that account up to the amount decided by the Council, may be authorized by the Executive Secretary or one of the Officers of the Society (Constitution Article 5.3) alone. This restriction shall not apply to payments of salary according to the scale authorized by Council. Such payments may be authorized by one Officer or a single person designated by Council. Otherwise, cheques and purchase orders for amounts exceeding the limit set by Council are to be authorized by any two Officers, or any one Officer and the Executive Secretary.
The Treasurer and the Executive Secretary shall agree prudent rules and regulations for the financial management of the Society, which shall form part of these Rules of Procedure after approval by a Council session.