Saturday 14 February 2009

European Parliament: Privileges and immunities

The previous blog post painted the background of the privileges and immunities of the European Communities. Protocol (No 36) on the privileges and immunities of the European Communities, OJEU 29.12.2006 C 321 E/318, contains provisions relevant to the institutions, including the European Parliament.

Article 1 could be called the key-note provision:

Article 1

The premises and buildings of the Communities shall be inviolable. They shall be exempt from
search, requisition, confiscation or expropriation. The property and assets of the Communities shall not be the subject of any administrative or legal measure of constraint without the authorisation of the Court of Justice.


Article 2 extends the inviolability to the archives of the Communities.

Articles 3 and 4 exempts the Communities from all direct taxes as well as indirect taxes and customs duties for all articles intended for official use.

Communications and travel documents enjoy the same privileges as diplomatic communications and passports (Articles 6 and 7).


Government representatives

The European Union is the world’s largest international convention centre, so Article 11 concerns huge numbers of government representatives each year:

Article 11

Representatives of Member States taking part in the work of the institutions of the Communities, their advisers and technical experts shall, in the performance of their duties and during their travel to and from the place of meeting, enjoy the customary privileges, immunities and facilities.

This Article shall also apply to members of the advisory bodies of the Communities.


EU officials

Officials and other servants of the Communities are immune from national legal proceedings concerning their official acts, exempt with their families from immigration restrictions and formalities, enjoy the currency exchange rules applicable to their counterparts in international organisations, have a right to import their furniture and personal car duty-free and are exempted from national taxes, subject to more exact rules (Articles 12 to 16).


In short, the European Communities, including the institutions such as the European Parliament, are treated like international organisations and diplomatic missions.

Ralf Grahn

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