Friday, 9 March 2012

The EASO/Malta Seat Agreement - A Summary

We are very happy with the fact that EASO decided to publish this seat agreement because we see it as a symbol of our inquiries on more transparency of the EU Office.

The seat agreement is a 15 pages document that states the details agreed upon when Malta was selected as the Member State to host the office.  Malta's hosting was inaugurated last summer.

The Representatives of the Member States decided back in February 2010 that the office should be placed in Valletta and signed the agreement in May 2011.  The office is has not yet moved into the permanent premises as the Valletta building is not yet ready to house the Office's entire staff.   In our meeting with Visser, he sounded somewhat frustrated at not being able to be fully operational and to meet the high expectations he's being presented with.

General issues in the agreement include several points ranging from details on telecommunications, staff privileges, security concerns and division of costs.

EASO premises (artist impression)
Here we will only present what we think is of most importance and interest.  Anyone interested in the exact wording, the Seat Agreement can be found here.  This summary should be sufficient, as we think the document is not the most interesting thing to read on a Friday afternoon...!

Staff (Art. 1)

  • Statutory staff
  • Officials
  • Temporary staff
  • Contract agents
  • Auxiliary staff

External staff:

  • Seconded National Experts
  • Experts on contracts entrusted with studies etc.

Staff privileges and conditions

  • Exemption of tax to certain staff members, immunity to jurisdiction and import and export of personal and household belongings (Art. 8)
  • The setting-up of a multilingual school for the children of the non-Maltese staff (Art. 10)

Fiscal arrangements (Art. 7)

  • Include an exemption for the EASO office to pay tax on good, cars and utilities

The (permanent) Premises (Art. 16)

  • Block A, Xatt L-Ghassara tal-Gheneb, Marsa, Valletta Harbour
  • The Government of Malta will pay the lease costs (rent, maintenance and deposit) for the first 3 years starting May 2011
  • The Government will install and pay for the needed wiring in relation to ICT
  • EASO accepts the premises offered by the Government

Start-up Support (Art. 18)

The Government will provide the following start-up support on a once-only basis:

  • Office furniture, computers, telephone and data services for 12 persons
  • 1 project coordinator for 1 year
  • The costs in relation to the Management Board meetings (from May 2010 till May 2011) and all Consultative Forums during the first two years of operation (including booking of conference centre in both instances)
Also possibly of interest, Article 3 (Inviolability):

"The premises, buildings, archives and data centres of the Support Office shall, without prejudice to Article 45 of the EASO Regulation, be inviolable in accordance with Articles 1 and 2 of the Protocol.  They shall be exempt from search, requisition, confiscation or appropriation."

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