Zaragora proposals and their effects

What about the proposals’ process? Do you know the final result, but not what happened in between? Is what was obtained exactly what the proposers wanted to? If you wondered about at least one of these things, then keep reading the interview.

1. Change of the Visitors’ selection procedure

What actually changes with your proposal in the visitors’ selection process? How will this  influence next Agora selection?

Mattia Abis: The original proposal was a drastic change for the visitors’ selection procedure: we were trying to use the same procedure that locals are using for delegates’ selection. It means a voting at local Agora to create a ranking list of them which the Chair Team could use after. As everybody can imagine, this proposal created a huge debate and it has been modified.

What were the amendments? And are you satisfied with the result?

Mattia: Three amendments were presented: one by Mathijs Waegemakers (AEGEE-Enschede), which we rejected, a second one was made by Maurits Mink (AEGEE-Maastricht) which we accepted.  The third one, presented by Mário Branco (AEGEE-Paris), we rejected as well, but after a voting on the amendment the Prytanium wanted to keep it, however as we did not agree with the amendment we rejected it for a second time. The amendment was put to a vote in the plenary which approved it. So the final proposal was as follows: the selection is made by the Comité Directeur (CD) and Chair Team, while taking into account the ranking made by the local board.

The Proposal has been approved with 81% of votes in favour. Beyond what happend to our original proposal, I can say that we are satisfied: it was the first time we were presenting a proposal during a Prytania and it was wonderful to see how many people were involved in the discussion and that we contributed to improve our Association.

2. Nationality Quota for the Mediation Commission

When did you reach the decision of making this proposal and why?

Fabian Brüggemann: The decision to hand in the proposal concerning the nationality quota for the Mediation Commission was reached after the candidature presentations, realizing that we have 3 people sharing the same (Dutch) nationality. Talking to the representative of the Juridical Commission (JC) being present at the Agora we were told that they would probably be strict with interpreting the CIA. This would have meant that only two out of the three Dutch candidates – the ones with the most votes – would become members of the Mediation Commission. Having been president of the Mediation Commission for one year and a half, I know quite well that it is important to have different opinions and point of views in the Mediation Commission. So it is better to have 4 members (plus the JC President) than only three – which would have been the case if the CIA would have been applied strictly.

On the other hand, even if the JC would have said that one of the members was allowed to use his second (German) nationality, there could have been a case where – theoretically – the Mediation Commission takes a decision, after which an antenna suffering from that decision might say “but the way the Mediation Commission is composed is not according to the CIA! So your decision is not valid.” We wrote the proposal in order to prevent both of these possible problems.

You might say this is a lot “what if” and all this is very theoretical – and I do agree with that, but since we had the chance to avoid the above mentioned situations, we decided to go for it. So concretely the Network achieved more clarity and less uncertainty. Again, this is all very theoretical, but we decided to stick to our own rules and not just say “uh, we just do it the easy way”.

3. Decreasing the number of financial presentations & Change of the term of the internal financial year

What is the aim of the first proposal?

Anna Gots: The aim of the proposal was basically to ease both the life of Financial Director of AEGEE-Europe and of Agora members by lessening the amount of financial presentations at the Agora to the amount absolutely necessary to give a full overview of the finances of AEGEE-Europe.

And are you satisfied with the result? Were there any amendments?

Anna: There were no ammendments to the proposal suggested. I assume that’s because the proposal was developed much in advance and in cooperation with another experienced member: Tom Simons (AEGEE-Enschede). In fact, initially it was his idea that was successfully realised by this proposal.

Before your second proposal the internal financial year ended the 31st of July like your CD term. How  will things change after this proposal?

Anna: To be precise, last year the CD term officially ended on 31st of August, providing a shift of one month between the end of the internal financial year and the CD year. Since in Agora Budapest the term of CD was changed in a way that it should end on 31st of July, the aforementioned shift was lost, leaving the Financial Director not many chances to close internal financial year while still being in the office. So this proposal just fixed this discrepancy, returning things to normal.

Is it the result  you expected? Were there any amendments?

Anna: Indeed, it’s the result I’ve been aiming at. There was only one amendment suggested by the former Secretary General – Alma Mozgovaja – still during the process of online consultation, which I incorporated in the final version of the proposal. The amendment concerned the amount of days Financial Director can stay in the office after the end of his/her term. Namely the fact that it shouldn’t be more than seven days.

4. Removing the Main Fields of Action

Why did you decide to present this proposal? How did you come up with it?

Ana Potocnik: During the Identity meeting, where we were drafting the new Identity document with the Identity team and CD, we realized, that the Main Fields of Action do not reflect the reality of our organisation. They are not concrete and they do not describe what we do in AEGEE, some aspects of our work (especially that of the EnWG, HRWG, Health for Youth, and Youth UnEmployment) were not covered. Moreover in the survey we launched before Agora Budapest, more than 70% of our members stated that they believe AEGEE does not contribute to two of the Main Fields of Action (Higher Education and Peace and Stability). We (the Identity team) believed that the structure of the new Identity document -which was ratified by Agora Zaragoza, presents all aspects of AEGEE. This makes the Main Fields of Action an unnecessary element of the Identity. The Identity document that we have now consist of: VISION – what AEGEE dreams about, what do we want our future to look like, MISSION – how does AEGEE contribute to this future, MEANS – what exactly do we do and what are the tools to achieve the Mission, STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES – which values do we stand for.

Were there any amendments? And are you satisfied with the result?

Ana: Yes, we and the CD are satisfied. There was only one amendment, suggested by JC. Our team missed the fact that the Main Fields of Action are also mentioned in another part of the CIA. They suggested to avoid confusion and nonsense in the Statutes by changing this part as well. Besides that there was nothing, about which I was quite surprised. The proposal was accepted easier than I expected.

5. An updated AEGEE identity

How will members and Antennae benefit from this ?

Maria Arends: With this updated Identity, it is much clearer what AEGEE is actually about. That makes it easier to explain it to members and future members, as well as externals. Even though it might not be phrases you know by heart, from this you can remember and, more importantly, understand the scope of the association, which makes it much easier to share.

Are you satisfied with the result?

Maria: Personally yes, I am very happy with it. The reason why I wanted to join the Identity Meeting and later the team, is that I felt AEGEE’s structure was chaotic and hard to explain -even if you are an active member. That’s why I think it is much better now: now I know what to tell people!

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Written by Cosmina Bisboaca , AEGEE-Torino