OPEN-EU Terms of Reference

  1. Denomination

Building on the cooperation that led to the drafting of  the EU Obesity Policy Engagement Network Call To Action: Changing The Status Quo In Obesity, the undersigned organisations have agreed to collaborate on  realising the objectives under four pillars of the Call to Action (refer to page Annex 1, page 5, for details)  to the best of their capabilities and organisational capacities.

This document sets out basic Rules of Engagement as well as Governance Structures to which all agree to adhere for the duration of the collaboration.

  1. Language

The operational language of the Coalition is English.

  1. Purpose and objectives

OPEN-EU is formed as an EU level Coalition  for organisations with a transborder reach  to promote a shared vision for stemming the tide of obesity in Europe, based on jointly developed recommendations.

The aim of the OPEN-EU group will be to work together to implement a cross-cutting policy approach at EU level. A focus will be to ensure EU Member States and respective regions are empowered and able to provide people living with obesity access to fair, effective obesity treatment and management.

An integral element of the collaboration will be to raise a new narrative on obesity high on the political agenda across all policies – not only conventional health or food related policies – in order to bring the necessary changes to address the unprecedented challenges and opportunities driven by an ageing population and increased prevalence of chronic diseases that healthcare systems and citizens across Europe are facing.

The objectives of the Coalition are:

  • To seek implementation of the recommendations outlined in the published Call to Action by EU, national and regional policy makers and other appropriate organisations
  • To monitor the implementation of any joint recommendation
  • To support this by sharing best practices and organising joint advocacy meetings and outreach initiatives.
  1. Activities

Any activities, in addition to the agreed annual work programme, need to be presented to and agreed by all partners.

  1. Partnership requirements and the inclusion of new partners

Every European level organisation from civil society, institutional and private sector, whose main mission and objectives actively contribute to OPEN-EU ambitions and are ready to commit to its stated objectives and recommendations, can join the partnership.

Additional requirements are as follows:

  • Commitment to the agreed plans and their implementation
  • Commitment to actively take part in meetings and assist with the activities of the Coalition within their capacity

Requests to join the Coalition must be addressed in writing to at least one of the Coalition’s partners. All Coalition partners will have to approve it unanimously in writing (email or otherwise).

6. Withdrawal and Exclusions

Any partner may give notice of its withdrawal to the Coalition in writing. Withdrawal shall take effect two weeks after its receipt by at least one of the Coalition’s partners. In the event of a breach of these Terms of Reference, the Coalition, having consulted the partner concerned, can exclude such a partner by a 75% vote of all partners.

  1. Governance

All Coalition partners meet regularly either in person or via call, and at least twice a year, to discuss the status of current initiatives and approve the future strategy. More than one representative per organisation can participate in these meetings. However, every partner organisation has only the right to one vote. Decisions are taken by consensus, unless otherwise specified. These meetings are convened by volunteering partners.

The Coalition is also composed of four policy groups and a communication task force. The communication task force takes care of internal and external communication. The policy groups propose priority topics to all partners in line with their respective pillars of focus.

Partners can propose to focus on additional topics and/or substitute some of the existing ones. Decisions will be taken unanimously by all partners. Partners can also raise additional issues for discussion in the Coalition, for example relating to a current topic on the Brussels policy agenda. Partners will decide by unanimity if the Coalition should develop a joint view on the topic and if necessary set up a temporary working group to work on the issue.

Every group can be co-chaired by up to two partners, who set up meetings and/or teleconferences, define the agenda and steer the discussions. Every partner organisation can put forward its application for co-chairmanship at the beginning of the year. Elections will take place during the first meeting of the group; the co-chairs are voted by simple majority of the groups’ members. In case of a tie vote, a second round will be organised when only top three candidates contest.

The list of partners active in each group can be found in Annex I, while Annex II defines the organigram of the Coalition. Membership in the groups is revisited at the beginning of every year, but partners can, at any time and in writing, show their interest in joining another group, and they will be automatically be admitted.

  1. Rights and obligations of partners

 A. Rights

Each partner has the right to:

  • Have access to all internal and external information gathered by the Coalition
  • Actively participate in meetings and events organised by the Coalition, including foster its visibility by providing its logo
  • Use the documents adopted by the Coalition, media and website provided that the name of the Coalition is used as a reference
  • Express one vote in all partners meeting
  • All partners have the same voting rights, without distinction between in cash and in-kind contributors.

 B. Obligations

Each partner has the obligation to:

  • Adhere to the objectives and purpose of the Coalition and collectively work towards their realisation
  • Positively contribute to the Coalition’s activities. This could include chairing meetings, providing the venue, drafting the agenda, and taking the minutes. Partners with limited meeting venue facilities might ask support from other partners to offer an appropriate venue.
  1. Budget

In cash contributions will be agreed by the interested partners. Other partners, unless they request otherwise in writing, contribute in-kind. The list of in cash and in-kind contributors can be found in Annex III. In cash contributions will be made transparent and be published in the Coalition’s website.

Banking arrangements, and the accounting process, will be agreed unanimously between the partners.

The budgetary/accounting year will cover the period from January to December. In the event that there is a leftover balance at the end of the mandate of the Coalition, the remaining amount will be divided and redistributed between the partners, in proportion to their budgetary contribution.

Both in case of withdrawal or exclusion in the course of the financial year, the contribution for the current year, if applicable, will be due.

All Partners agree to bear their own travel costs.

  1. Legal effect

 These Terms of Reference do not grant any authority for any individual partner to legally bind any other partner, or partners, or the Coalition.


Annex II

Annex II defines the organigram of the Coalition.

OPEN EU All Partners Meeting – role and remit

The OPEN EU All Partners Meeting includes a representative from each of the OPEN EU partner organisations. The role of the OPEN EU All Partners Meeting, OPEN EU’s highest decision-making body, is to:

  • Reach consensus on the strategic direction to determine the activities of OPEN EU, including how the core focus areas can be addressed – with specific guidance and recommendations from individual Pillar Task Forces
  • Help OPEN EU to identify and prioritise capacity building requirements, as required
  • Have voting rights to determine / approve new members of OPEN EU
  • Approve the joint Annual Work Programme co-designed by each Pillar Task Force as set out in the OPEN EU call to action: changing the status quo in obesity

Task Force Co-Chairs will:

  • Oversee, drive and own specific areas / work streams of the real work programme to ensure progress and delivery
  • Act as a key conduit in communications between the partner organisations, members, and the OPEN EU secretariat
  • Work with the Expert Secretariat to organise content and logistics of regular meetings (online and in person as appropriate) in furtherance of the TF work programme