Article 1. Definitions
For the purposes of this Agreement:
a) “Convention” means the Convention for the establishment of a European Space Agency of 30 May 1975;
b) “Director General” means the Director General referred to in Article XII, paragraph 1 b) of the Convention;
c) “the Agency” means the European Space Agency;
d) “ESTEC” means the European Space Research Technology Centre of the Agency located in the Netherlands;
e) “Staff member” means a member of the staff of the Agency exercising his functions in the Netherlands who has been appointed further to Article XII of the Convention;
f) “Experts” means persons, referred to in Article XII, paragraph 3 d) of the Convention and Article XVII of Annex I of the Convention performing missions or tasks authorised by the Agency;
g) “Government” means the Government of the Netherlands;
h) “Member State” means a State party to the Convention pursuant to Article XX and XXII thereof;
i) “Site” means the surface of land put at the disposal of the Agency, in accordance with the notarial deed of 9 November 1966, as amended by notarial deeds of 24 April 1994 and 16 November 2006;
j) “Premises” means the site, the buildings, parts of buildings and land or facilities ancillary thereto, including installations and facilities made available to, or maintained, occupied or used by the Agency in the Netherlands for the performance of its official activities. The Agency shall communicate plans of these premises to the Government;
k) “Representative of Member States” means the designated representative of a State party to the Convention;
l) “Vienna Convention” means the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 18 April 1961;
m) “Members of the family forming part of a staff member’s household” has the meaning specified in Article 11 of this Agreement.
For the pursuit of its official activities within the territory of the Netherlands, the Agency shall enjoy the privileges and immunities defined in Annex I to the Convention and in any relevant complementary agreement in force between the Government and the Agency in accordance with the provisions for its implementation, set out in this Agreement. This Agreement shall not detract from Annex I to the Convention.
Article 3. Rights incidental to use of the site
1 The Agency shall have the right to build, within the bounds of the site, such installations as it deems necessary for carrying out its activities. Unless otherwise agreed, it shall have exclusive ownership of such installations.
4 As soon as a planned change in use or in the scale of activities undertaken at ESTEC results in the identification of requirements for expansion of the site or of the buildings thereon, the Agency shall consult with the Government through the Consultative Committee, referred to in Article 25. The Government shall make every effort to accommodate such requirements on terms which are not less favourable than those applicable to the site under this Agreement.
Article 4. Permits
The Government undertakes to issue in a timely fashion the necessary permits for the buildings and installations the Agency requires for its operation and their expansion as provided for in Article 3. Charges for permits shall be proportional to the service rendered.
Article 5. Communications
1 The Agency shall have the right to install and to operate telecommunications systems on the site. The Government shall arrange for the necessary authorisations to be issued in good time to the Agency for the installation and operation of fixed and mobile antennas and other equipment related to satellite communications and ensure that the Agency is able to make use of the radio frequencies it requires for its operations. Those frequencies shall be chosen by the Agency in agreement with the competent authorities of the Netherlands and in accordance with the rules of the International Telecommunications Union. The competent authorities of the Netherlands shall be responsible for taking any necessary national or international steps.
The Agency shall enjoy the same protection as the State’s radio communications from interference caused by radio transmissions under the Government’s control and, as far as possible, by electrical equipment and installations outside ESTEC.
In accordance with the rules of the International Telecommunications Union, the Government shall use its best endeavours to ensure that any interference caused by radio transmissions that are not under its control is eliminated.
Article 6. Inviolability of the premises
1 Any person authorised to enter any place under any legal provision shall not exercise that authority in respect of the premises of the Agency unless permission to do so has been given by or on behalf of the Director General of the Agency or the Head of ESTEC acting on his behalf. Such permission may, however, be presumed in the event of fire or other emergencies requiring prompt protective action. Any person who has entered the premises with the presumed permission of the Director General of the Agency or the Head of ESTEC acting on his behalf shall, if so requested by the Director General of the Agency or the Head of ESTEC acting on his behalf, leave the premises immediately.
Article 7. Inviolability of the archives
The inviolability of the archives referred to in Article III of Annex I to the Convention shall apply to the entire archives, correspondence, documents, manuscripts, photographs, films, recordings, computer and media data, data carriers and any other similar material belonging to or held by the Agency, wherever they are located and by whomsoever they are held, and all the information contained therein.
Article 8. Applicable law
Without prejudice to the provisions of the Convention and Annex I thereto and to any relevant complementary agreement between the Government and the Agency, the laws of the Netherlands shall apply within the premises and to the activities of the Agency carried out on the territory of the Netherlands.
Article 9. Liability for injury or damage
1 The Agency shall be liable for any injury or damage resulting from activities, on the territory of the Netherlands, of the Agency, its staff or its experts, acting or failing to act within the limits of their functions. Without prejudice to the provisions of Annex I to the Convention such liability shall be governed by the laws of the Netherlands and be without prejudice to any rights of recourse contracted by the Agency.
Article 10. Exemption from taxes and duties
2 The Agency shall be exempted on application from tax on motor vehicles and motorcycles (belasting van personenauto’s en motorrijwielen, BPM) andmotor-vehicle tax (motorrijtuigenbelasting, MRB) in respect of its motor vehicles used for official purposes.
4 If value added tax is paid in respect of goods supplied or services rendered to the Agency it shall be refunded to the Agency on application. The tax on hydrocarbons such as fuel oil and motor fuels which the Agency requires for official purposes shall be refunded to the Agency on application.
The Agency shall be exempted in advance from excise duties on goods supplied and required for official purposes, purchased from an “accijnsgoederenplaats”, if a permit therefor is acquired from the national tax authority.
The Agency shall submit applications for reimbursement within three months after the end of the quarter in which payment was made for goods supplied or services rendered and shall send the relevant documents together with the applications.
The Agency undertakes to facilitate the verification by the competent authorities of the facts on which the tax exemption or tax refund can be based.
Reimbursement of the above-mentioned taxes and duties shall be made in conformity with the applicable tax regulations and quotas set by the Government.
This Article shall not apply to taxes and duties that are no more than charges for public utility services.
5. Goods acquired or imported under the terms set out in paragraph 3 of this Article shall not be sold, let, given away or otherwise disposed of, except in accordance with the conditions agreed upon with the Government.
Article 11. Members of the Family
2 Children of a staff member, of his spouse or of his registered partner who are between 18 and 24 years of age shall also be recognised as members of the family forming part of the household if they do not fulfil the condition set out in paragraph 1, subparagraph c), item iii) of this Article, as long as they fulfil the other conditions set out in that subparagraph.
Article 12. Work permit, residence permit, compulsory registration
1 Staff members:
a) shall not require a work permit;
b) shall not require a residence permit, and shall not be subject to the provisions governing immigration procedures and aliens’ registration, provided that they hold the personal identity card referred to in Article 13; the same shall apply to members of their family forming part of their household;
c) shall not be subject to the application of the regulations regarding the registration of religious denomination in the Netherlands’ population registers; the same shall apply to members of their family forming part of their household.
3 The rights granted to staff members during their period of employment and to the members of their family forming part of their household shall expire on the staff member’s final departure or on expiry of a reasonable period as referred to in Article 39, paragraphs 2 and 3, of the Vienna Convention, such period being counted from the date on which the staff member relinquishes his duties or the family members cease to form part of their household.
Article 13. Identity cards
3 The identity cards issued by the Government shall state the holder’s name, sex, date and place of birth, and nationality, and shall bear a photograph of the holder. This card shall serve to identify the holder in relation to the competent authorities.
5 Electronically accessible data on the identity cards shall be limited to the data listed in paragraph 3 of this Article. However, the Government may add further electronically accessible data provided this does not affect any of the rights under Annex I to the Convention and this Agreement. The Government shall inform the Agency of the intended changes at the earliest possible date prior to their implementation.
7 The Agency shall promptly return the identity cards of the persons mentioned in paragraph 2 of this Article after termination of employment of the staff member concerned, with due regard to the reasonable period stipulated in Article 12, paragraph 3 of this Agreement. The same shall apply to the identity cards of the persons mentioned in paragraph 2, subparagraph c of this Article after termination of their employment with a staff member.
Article 14. Director General and Head of ESTEC
1 The Director General of the Agency shall, when visiting the Netherlands, enjoy the same privileges and immunities as the Netherlands accords to heads of diplomatic missions in the Netherlands in accordance with the Vienna Convention.
2 The Head of ESTEC in the Netherlands, as the representative of the Director General of the Agency, shall enjoy the same privileges and immunities as the Netherlands accords to heads of diplomatic missions in the Netherlands in accordance with the Vienna Convention.
Article 15. Privileges and immunities of staff members
1 Staff members, having the professional grade of A4/10 and above shall enjoy the same privileges and immunities as the Netherlands grants to diplomatic agents of the diplomatic missions established in the Netherlands, in accordance with the Vienna Convention, except that immunity from jurisdiction and personal inviolability shall not extend to acts performed outside the course of their official functions.
2 Staff members who are not service staff and who do not fall under paragraph 1 shall enjoy the same privileges and immunities as the Netherlands accords to administrative and technical staff of the diplomatic missions established in the Netherlands in accordance with the Vienna Convention, except that immunity from jurisdiction and personal inviolability shall not extend to acts performed outside the course of their official duties.
Article 16. Servants
1 For the duration of their employment with the Agency in the Netherlands, staff members shall be allowed to employ domestic servants or, where applicable, private servants.
Article 17. Experts
1 The Government recognises the importance of the presence at ESTEC of experts, and therefore undertakes to use its best efforts to facilitate their unimpeded entry into and departure from the Netherlands, and to provide, upon request, administrative assistance in connection with their stay in the Netherlands (including, where necessary, the provision of work and/or residence permits).
Article 18. Nationals, Permanent Residents and Staff on short-term contracts
1 Articles 14 to 17 shall not apply to nationals and permanent residents of the Netherlands and staff members having an initial contract of less than two years, for the duration of that contract and without prejudice to privileges and immunities that subsequently may be enjoyed. They shall only enjoy immunity from jurisdiction, and inviolability, in respect of official acts performed in the exercise of their functions.
2 Nationals of the Netherlands, covered by Article XV or XVI of Annex I to the Convention, whose names have, by reason of their duties, been entered on a list drawn up by the Director General of the Agency and approved by the Minister of Defence of the Netherlands, shall be exempt from military service. In the event of other nationals of the Netherlands being called up for military service, the Minister of Defence of the Netherlands shall, at the request of the Agency, grant them such deferment as may be necessary to avoid the interruption of essential work.
Article 19. Use of privileges and immunities
The privileges and immunities granted under the provisions of this Agreement are conferred in the interests of the Agency and not for the personal benefit of the individuals themselves. It is the duty of the Agency and all persons enjoying such privileges and immunities to observe the laws and regulations of the Netherlands.
Article 20. Entry, stay and departure
2 The Government shall, on the request of the Agency, facilitate the entry, stay and departure of persons attending official activities and programmes specified in Article V of the Convention.
3 Visas or, if appropriate, multiple-entry visas required by persons referred to in paragraph 1 and 2, shall be granted without charge and as promptly as possible.
Article 21. Social security
As long as the Agency has its own social security system or adheres to a social security system offering comparable coverage to the coverage under the legislation of the Netherlands, the Agency and its staff members shall be exempt from social security provisions in the Netherlands, except if a staff member takes up gainful employment in the Netherlands other than employment with the Agency.
Article 22. Progression
The Government shall not take into account any of the salaries and emoluments paid by the Agency which are exempt from national income tax pursuant to Article XVIII of Annex I to the Convention when assessing the amount of tax to be applied to income from other sources.
Article 23. Driving licence
During their period of employment, staff members, experts and the members of their family forming part of their household, and their domestic or private servants shall be allowed to obtain a Dutch driving licence on presentation of their valid foreign driving licence or to continue to drive using their own valid foreign driving licence, provided the holder is in possession of an identity card issued by the Government.
Article 24. Most favourable treatment
If and to the extent that the Government, in the future, enters into an agreement with, or changes its policy with respect to any intergovernmental organisation, and said agreement or policy contains terms or conditions more favourable to that organisation than comparable terms or conditions in this Agreement, consultations shall be entered into at the request of the Agency with a view to discussing whether the same treatment may be extended to the Agency.
Article 25. Joint Consultative Committee
Article 26. Entry into force and duration
Article 28. Denunciation
2 The Netherlands shall have the right to denounce this Agreement if the site referred to in paragraph i) of Article 1 of this Agreement is either not being used for the Agency’s purposes as described in the Convention or will evidently no longer be used at all. In such case, this Agreement shall terminate one year after the date on which the Netherlands gives notice of denunciation to the Agency.
Article 30. Dissolution
This Agreement shall terminate on the dissolution of the Agency under the conditions set out in Article XXV of the Convention.
Article 31. Consultations
The Parties shall use their best endeavours to overcome any difficulties arising with regard to the interpretation and implementation of this Agreement through early and full consultations.
Article 32. Arbitration
Any dispute arising out of the interpretation or application of this Agreement that cannot be settled between the Parties in any other way shall be submitted to arbitration at the request of either Party for resolution in accordance with paragraphs 2 to 6 of Article XVII of the Convention and such additional rules as may have been promulgated under the Convention at the time of submission. If either Party intends to submit a dispute to arbitration, it shall notify the other Party.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned representatives, being duly authorised thereto, have appended their signature to this Agreement.
DONE at The Hague this twenty-first of February in the year 2008 in two originals in the English and French languages, the two texts being equally authentic.
For the Kingdom of the Netherlands
For the European Space Agency