European Agencies’ Headquarters Agreements

Marek Zieliński



The article examines headquarters agreements concluded by European Agencies (EA) with EU host Member States. This sort of agreement is increasingly visible in practice, as it regulates the status of EAs present within a host state territory. After presenting a list of existing headquarters agreements and describing their content, the article analyses the legal bases for their conclusion. Finally, the legal character of EU agencies’ headquarters agreements, and the position occupied by them within the sources of EU law, are explained. The author considers three possible options regarding the legal nature of the agreements: treaties, administrative agreements and public law contracts. The final conclusion is that EA headquarters agreements are international treaties concluded by EAs in the name of the EU with host Member States.


EU Agencies; EU law; headquarters agreements

Full Text:



Ahluwalia K., The Legal Status, Privileges and Immunities of the Specialised Agencies of the United Nations and Certain other International Organizations, Martinus Nijhoff,The Hague 1964.

Aust A., Modern Treaty Law and Practice, third edition, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2013.

Barbier S., Cuq M., Les Immunités de l’Union Européenne [in:] Benlolo-Carabot M., Candas U., Cujo E., (eds) ‘Union Européenne et Droit International’, Editions A. Pedone, Paris 2012.

Brandon M., Analysis of the Terms “Treaty” and “International Agreement” for Purposes of Registration under Article 102 of the United Nations Charter, ‘American Journal of International Law’ 1953, vol. 47.

Burdeau G. B., France [in:] Reinisch A., (ed.) ‘The Privileges and Immunities of International Organizations in Domestic Courts’, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2013.

Chamon M., EU Agencies. Legal and Political Limits to the Transformation of the EU Administration, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2013.

Churchill R. R., Ulfstein G., Autonomous Institutional Arrangements in Multilateral Environmental Agreements: a Little Noticed Phenomenon in International Law, ‘American Journal of International Law’ 2000, vol. 94.

Fink M., Frontex Working Arrangements: Legitimacy and Human Rights Concerns Regarding ‘Technical Relationships’, ‘Utrecht Journal of International and European Law’ 2012, vol. 28, no. 75.

Frände J., Wallin M., Äimä K., Finland, [in:] Lang M., Pistone P., Schuch J., Staringer C., Storck A., (eds), ‘Tax Rules in Non-tax Agreements’, IBFD, Amsterdam 2012.

Gatti M., Manzini P., External Representation of the European Union in the Conclusion of International Agreements, ‘Common Market Law Review’ 2012, vol. 49.

Gruber G., Benisch M., Privileges and Immunities of the European Central Bank, European Central Bank Legal Working Paper Series, no. 4/June 2007.

Hetesy Z., The Making of the Basic Principles of the Headquarters Agreement, ‘Fordham International Law Journal’ 2001, vol. 25.

Hofmann H. C. H, Morini A, Constitutional aspects of the pluralisation of the EU executive through “agencification”, ‘European Law Review’ 2012, vol. 37.

Hofmann H. C. H., Agreements in EU Law, ‘European Law Review’ 2006, vol. 31.

Lukits R., Arbitration before the European Court of Justice, ‘International Arbitration Law Review’ 2014, vol. 17.

Lukits R., Arbitration under international agreements of the European Union, ‘International Arbitration Law Review’ 2015, vol. 18.

Mann F. A., Zur Auslegung von Verwaltungsabkommen durch den Bundesgerichtshof‚ ‘Zeitschrift für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht’ 1975, vol. 35.

Martens E., Ch. XVI Miscellaneous Provisions, Article 102, [in:] Simma B., Khan D-E., Nolte G., Paulus A., Wessendorf N., (eds) ‘The Charter of the United Nations: A Commentary’, Volume II 3rd Edition, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2012.

Michaels D. B., International Privileges and Immunities: a Case for a Universal Statute, Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague 1971.

Miller A. J., The Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations, ‘International Organizations Law Review’ 2009, vol. 6.

Muller A. S., International Organizations and their Host States. Aspects of their Legal Relationship, Kluwer Law International, The Hague 1995.

Münch W., The Impact of Headquarters Agreements on Human Resources Management of the United Nations System, [in:] von Scholremer S., (ed.), ‘Praxishandbuch UNO’, Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York 2003.

Ott A., Vos E., Coman-Kund F., EU agencies and their international mandate: A new category of global actors? ‘CLEER Working Papers’ 2013, no. 7.

Paasivirta E., Kuijper P. J., Does One Size Fit All?: The European Community and the Responsibility of International Organizations, ‘Netherlands Yearbook of International Law’ 2005, no. XXXVI.

Ruffert M., Personality under EU Law: A Conceptual Answer towards the Pluralisation of the EU, ‘European Law Journal’ 2014, vol. 20.

Ryngaert C., Oscillating Between Embracing and Avoiding Bosphorus: the European Court of Human Rights on Member State Responsibility for Acts of International Organisations and the Case of the EU, ‘European Law Review’ 2014, vol. 39.

Schmalenbach K., International Organisations or Institutions, General Aspects, ‘Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law’ July 2014.

Schusterschitz G., European Agencies as Subjects of International Law, ‘International Organizations Law Review’ 2004, no. 1.

Szasz P. C, The Complexification of the United Nations System, ‘Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law’ 1999, no. 3.

Van Alebeek R., Nollkaemper A., Privileges and Immunities of International Organizations in the case law of Dutch Courts, ‘ACIL Research Paper’ no. 2012-11.

Walter C., Subjects of International Law, ‘Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law’ May 2007.

Wessel R. A., The EU as a party to international agreements: shared competences, mixed responsibilities, [in:] Dashwood A., Maresceau M., (eds) ‘Law and Practice of EU External Relations. Salient Features of a Changing Landscape’, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2008.

Wessels R., Immunities of the European Union, ‘International Organizations Law Review’ 2014, vol. 10.

Zieliński M., Porozumienie dotyczące siedziby agencji Unii Europejskiej Frontex w Polsce (aspekty konstytucyjne), ‘Przegląd Sejmowy’ 2016, vol. XXIV, no. 1(132).


  • There are currently no refbacks.