8.2 Agency management, budget execution and staff

During 2020, the Eurojust Administration, which was headed by its Administrative Director, Mr Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, continued to support the College in its work. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Administration adapted quickly to fully remote working arrangements introduced on 12 March 2020. It continued to provide a comprehensive range of services to the College and the National Desks throughout the year and achieved full budget execution while also welcoming 29 new staff members.

To balance personal safety considerations and operational continuity requirements, only essential staff members whose physical presence was required on-site were working from the Eurojust building in The Hague, the Netherlands, while all other staff worked from home.

The Consolidated Annual Activity Report (CAAR) provides a detailed overview of all activities, as included in the Eurojust Work Programme, budget execution and staffing policies, as well as the implementation of internal controls and risk management. The 2020 CAAR and the Eurojust College Assessment thereof will be submitted to the budgetary authority by 1 July 2021.

Budget execution

Budget execution in 2020

Despite the inevitable impact of COVID-19 measures on Eurojust’s activities, the Agency implemented 99.99% of its EU subsidy for 2020, which amounted to EUR 41.7 million.

Lower expenditures in areas affected by the successive lockdown periods and fully remote working arrangements, such as for on-site meetings and missions, allowed Eurojust to invest in the corresponding amount in its infrastructure and services to replace and upgrade several of its systems as well as to better support the remote working arrangements. In 2020, Eurojust also benefited from the contribution of the Kingdom of Denmark of EUR 851 000, which was used to supplement some of the additional staffing costs linked to the growth in operational work, representing a significant part of Eurojust’s total operating budget.

Staff and Eurojust post-holders

Staff and Eurojust post-holders

By the end of 2020, Eurojust had 332 post-holders, including:

  • 27 National Members, assisted by 60 Deputies and Assistants seconded from the judicial authorities of the Member States to Eurojust, performing the core operational activities and together forming the College of Eurojust, which also performs the function of Management Board;

  • 223 staff members (Temporary Agents and Contract Agents) and 22 Seconded National Experts (SNEs) worked in Eurojust’s Administration, reporting to the Administrative Director. Twenty-nine new staff members and twelve SNEs were recruited during the year.

The Administration is headed by an Administrative Director, Mr Nicholas Panagiotopoulos, and is organised in three Departments:

  • the Operations Department provides operational and administrative support to the National Desks, including for casework and through the preparation of expert meetings, best practice tools, reports, development of relevant IT tools and data management;

  • the Corporate Department supports the organisation of College meetings and the College’s handling of governance matters and relationships with third countries and institutional relations (including through a Liaison Office in Brussels), and supports the Agency’s external and internal communication activities;

  • the Resources Department supports the management and implementation of the Agency’s budget, business planning and reporting, human resource management and legal services. It also provides IT services, ensures the security of the Eurojust building and oversees facility management.

Eurojust organigramClick on image to expand

IT systems

IT systems to support remote working arrangements

To enable remote, secure working arrangements, the Administration implemented future-proof infrastructure in 2019, equipping all post holders with secured laptops. A secured videoconferencing system hosted on Eurojust’s computer servers allowed the Agency, once the pandemic led to restricted movements in March 2020, to organise meetings with simultaneous interpretation in 31 languages. The system was used to organise 323 secure online case-specific coordination meetings and support the remote organisation of 14 coordinated joint action days.

Explaining the work of Eurojust

Explaining the work of Eurojust

The external communication activities of Eurojust also took place mostly online during the year, including the launch of a new public website and a new YouTube channel with a collection of video clips featuring a Virtual Tour of Eurojust, operational results and cases and tutorial videos on Eurojust’s services, available with subtitles in all official EU languages.

Instead of the Open Day that is usually organised in September every year, a Virtual Open Day with live streams of interactive sessions on the work of Eurojust and career opportunities was held in October 2020.