Legal Options

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Within the EGI_DS Project, taskforces have been set to identify the best legal and organisational options for EGI.

Four deliverables shall be published for this activity:

- Preliminary Work

- Options Analysis

- NGI Guidelines

- EGI Blueprint

The first deliverable has been validated. Here the executive summary:

"The goal of this document is to present a preliminary analysis to prepare the determination of EGI’s legal structure. First we define the elements that are significant for such a decision: on the one hand the specific characteristics of EGI, on the other hand elements of a legal structure that have to be taken into account.

EGI is very different from other Research Infrastructures which mostly build and own large equipment. In this case the budget is mainly invested in the infrastructure and its location partly defines its legal structure. Whereas the resources and middleware forming the Grid are owned locally and the role of EGI will be to coordinate its operation and offer services to the local communities. As such EGI’s budget will be mostly invested in human resources who will be partly distributed throughout Europe, and the location of its central office is not predefined. These are EGI’s specific characteristics.

The choice of a legal structure must be based on the resolution of various criteria. In this study we explain the relevance of these criteria for EGI and in general for choosing an appropriate legal structure. Follows a list of the criteria and the corresponding questions we answer in this study:

1. Activities/Objectives – What will EGI do? What kinds of activities can be undertaken under this model?

2. Constituency – Who are EGI founding members? Who may create an organisation under this model?

3. Governance – How will EGI be organised? Does the model impose governance rules?

4. Financial and Tax Issues – profit/non-profit, share capital, tax issues

5. Human Resources – Will EGI require to hire its own staff? Is it possible under this model to hire staff?

6. Liability – limited/unlimited

7. Mode of creation – requirements imposed by the model for its creation and timely assumptions

8. Autonomy – Does EGI require financial autonomy? Legal entity issue.

9. Location – Where will EGI central office be localised? Is it possible under the model to have a distributed location?

10. Duration - Does the model impose limitation on the duration?

11. International Privileges – Does EGI require specific privileges? Does the model entail such privileges?

We followed this set of criteria throughout the analysis of existing types of legal structures that were already used for the purpose of Research Infrastructures in Europe. The analysis is divided between organisations based on national, community and international law and summarized into comparison tables in Annex 2.

Organisations based on community law have the advantages of giving an undisputable European dimension, but they also imply many limitations and requirements that have to be taken into account closely. Organisations based on international law would be appropriate and bring some privileges, nevertheless they mostly require intergovernmental agreements which take a lot of time and wouldn’t fit EGI’s creation schedule. Organisations based on national law are easier and quicker to create, but then the local legal framework has to be taken into account.

From this study as well as from interfaces with the other WorkPackages, we could conclude that some criteria are more relevant than others, and start trimming among the legal structures to keep those that would be most appropriate. At best the chosen legal structure should allow for:

- ‘‘open’’ membership (to which any kind of entity from any European country could join)

- coordination, operation and development activities

- own budget

- possibility to recruit own personnel

- autonomy

- creation completed by January 2010

The follow up of this study will be more interfaces with WP3 in order to narrow again specifications for EGI’s legal structure and be able to propose a short list of options."

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