Call for Applications: EMSA/AD/2020/24 - Head of Unit Legal, Finance and Facilities

Post: EMSA/AD/2020/24 - Head of Unit Legal, Finance and Facilities
Directorate/Unit: Unit 4.2: Legal & Finance & Facilities
Type of post: Temporary agent post
Grade: AD10
Location: Lisbon
Closing date for applications: 26 April 2021

The selection of candidates will follow the EMSA Staff Recruitment Procedure. Candidates must apply for this post via the EMSA website http://www.emsa.europa.eu - vacancies. Please note that to make an EMSA on-line application you will need to create your EMSA profile using a valid e-mail address and a password.

1. Background

The European Maritime Safety Agency was established for the purpose of ensuring a high, uniform and effective level of maritime safety, maritime security as well as prevention of and response to pollution by ships within the EU.

The idea of a European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA)  originated in the late 1990's along with a number of other important European maritime safety initiatives. EMSA was set up as the decentralised agency that would provide a major source of support to the European Commission and the Member States in the field of maritime safety, security and prevention of pollution from ships. The Agency was established by Regulation (EC) No 1406/2002 and subsequent amendments have refined and enlarged its mandate to cover among other measures, the efficiency of maritime transport.

2. Tasks of the agency

The Agency provides technical, operational and scientific assistance to the European Commission and Member States in the fields of maritime safety, maritime security, prevention of, and response to, pollution caused by ships as well as response to marine pollution caused by oil and gas installations.

The Agency also contributes to the overall efficiency of maritime traffic and maritime transport and supports European cooperation on coastguard functions.

EMSA's activities can be broadly described as:

  • providing technical and scientific assistance to the Member States and the European Commission in the proper development and implementation of EU legislation on maritime safety, security, prevention of pollution by ships and maritime transport administrative simplification;
  • monitoring the implementation of EU legislation through visits and inspections;
  • improving cooperation with and between Member States;
  • building capacity of national competent authorities;
  • providing operational assistance, including developing, managing and maintaining maritime services related to ships, ship monitoring and enforcement;
  • carrying out operational preparedness, detection and response tasks with respect to pollution caused by ships and marine pollution by oil and gas installations;
  • at the request of the European Commission, providing technical operational assistance to non-EU countries around relevant sea basins.

3. Unit 4.2: Legal & Finance & Facilities

The Unit provides advice to the Executive Director on legal, budgetary and financial matters and ensures compliance of legal and financial transactions with EMSA Financial Regulation. In this area, it particularly provides advice and verification on procurement procedures and legal commitments, financial and budgetary issues. The Unit carries out ex-ante financial verification of all financial transactions; in ensures the Agency invoice registration and management of contract archive and all access rights to the ABAC suite. Finally, it aims at streamlining administrative procedures by providing training in relation to finance and procurement, drafting and updating relevant rules, guidelines, templates and procedures and as business Unit enhancing procurement and financial tools of the Agency including e-procurement. It also handles matters of access to documents.

The Unit provides the framework for setting the environmental policy of the Agency and coordinates the project aiming at EMAS registration.

Finally, the Unit maintains and operates EMSA’s premises and infrastructure, deals with safety and security matters, provides support for EMSA events and provides numerous support services. There are 12 staff members working in the unit. 

4. Functions and duties

Reporting to the Head of Department 'Corporate Services', the Head of Unit 'Legal, Finance and Facilities' will be responsible for the management of the Unit and in particular for:

  • Defining the draft work programme of the Agency within the remit of the Unit;
  • Ensuring the effective planning of the activities of the Unit and that quality standards are maintained;
  • Coordinating and implementing the activities falling within the work programme of the Unit and ensuring their coherence and compatibility with the policies of the Agency;
  • Acting as the Legal Adviser for the Agency in administrative and operational matters;
  • Advising the Executive Director and Middle management on budget and financial matters in the application of the EU Regulatory Framework;
  • Acting as the EMSA Security Officer;
  • Coordinating the advice provided within the Agency by the different legal and financial officers;
  • Exercising quality control over deliverables, ensuring that quality standards are maintained;
  • Developing the administrative capacity of the Agency in the field of competence of the Unit;
  • Defining and reporting on the use of human and budgetary resources allocated to the Unit;
  • Ensuring teamwork within the Unit and with other Units/Departments;
  • Ensuring the effective planning of the activities of the Unit;
  • Contributing to the work of Department 4 and the Agency in general.

5. Eligibility and Selection Criteria


A.1 Education and experience

  • A level of education which corresponds to completed university studies, attested by a diploma, when the normal period of university education is four years or more AND at least thirteen years of proven professional experience acquired after the award of university diploma, or;
  • A level of education which corresponds to completed university studies attested by a diploma when the normal period of university education is at least three years AND at least fourteen years of proven professional experience acquired after the award of university diploma.

It should be noted that due to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on the 31/01/2020, candidates from the United Kingdom who do not hold the nationality of another European Union Member State, are not eligible.

Only qualifications that have been awarded in EU Member States or that are subject to the equivalence certificates issued by the authorities in the EU Member States will be taken into consideration. Please note, that degrees awarded by the United Kingdom up to 31/12/2020 are considered as valid.

A.2 Language skills

  • The main working language in the field of maritime safety is English. Candidates must therefore have a very good command of oral English as well as in writing with a satisfactory knowledge of at least one other official language of the European Union to the extent necessary for the performance of the above-mentioned duties.


B.1. Essential

  • At least thirteen years of full-time relevant professional experience in the field related to the functions and duties;
  • A minimum of three years of proven professional experience in a managerial position, successfully coordinating/supervising the work of a medium-sized team (i.e minimum of 5 persons and above) in the field related to the functions and duties;
  • Undergraduate degree in Law or combined Bachelor/Master degree program in Law issued by an EU Member State (degrees awarded by the United Kingdom up to 31/12/2020 are considered as valid);
  • An excellent knowledge of the legal framework governing the EU Institutions and EU Agencies (bodies), in particular, in the field of procurement, access to documents, financial resources;
  • A basic knowledge of EU maritime transport policy and legislation, in particular in the area of maritime safety;
  • A knowledge of the EU security framework, in particular related to EU Classified Information (EUCI);
  • Direct professional experience in handling budgetary and procurement matters;
  • The Competencies listed in the Annex of the Middle Management Decision.

B.2. Advantageous

  • Professional qualifications in the legal field (bar exam);
  • Professional experience in a public administration, EU Institution or international organisation;
  • A university or professional qualification in accounting, business management, finance or economics;
  • A knowledge of French and/or Portuguese language.

Applicants must meet the required eligibility criteria concerning the required educational qualifications and years of experience, as well as the essential criteria by the deadline for this call for applications.

The advantageous criteria will be considered by the Selection Board depending on the number of applicants meeting the essential criteria.

Candidates must give details in their application, for the above-mentioned essential and advantageous criteria, of how the relevant experience or knowledge was acquired, including the range of tasks and their relevance to the functions and duties.

In addition to the requirements above, candidates invited to the interview and test phase may also be assessed against the following supplementary requirements:


  • Excellent analytical skills;
  • Service-orientated with a strong customer-focused approach to work, demonstrating responsiveness and flexibility;
  • Excellent communication skills, both oral and written;
  • A high level of confidentiality. EMSA will request security clearance up to the level EU Secret;
  • Ability to work under pressure and to deliver within precise deadlines and to prioritise tasks.

6. General conditions

In order to be eligible the candidate must:

  • Be a national of one of the Member States of the European Union or of Iceland or Norway;
  • Be entitled to his/her full rights as a citizen;
  • Have fulfilled the obligations imposed on him/her by the laws concerning military service;
  • Meet the character requirements for the duties involved; and
  • Be physically fit to perform the duties linked to the post.

It should be noted that due to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on the 31/01/2020, candidates from the United Kingdom who do not hold the nationality of another European Union Member State, are not eligible for calls for applications at EMSA due to the fact that they do not fulfil the requirements of Article 12.2 of the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants, namely that they do not hold the nationality of a EU Member State.

7. Conditions of employment

The Head of Unit Legal, Finance and Facilities will be appointed by the Executive Director.

This vacancy notice concerns a Temporary Agent position, pursuant to Article 2 f) of the Conditions of Employment of other servants of the European Communities.

The initial duration of the contract is three years, with possibility of renewal.

The successful candidate will be recruited in the grade AD10.

The basic monthly salary, before any deductions or allowances, weighted for Lisbon, at 1 July 2020 for grade AD10 first step is 8,306.02EUR.

In addition to the basic salary, staff members may be entitled to various allowances, such as an expatriation allowance (16% of basic salary), household allowance, dependent child allowance and education allowance. The salary is subject to a European Union tax deducted at source and staff members are exempt of national taxation.

Please note that recruitment is done in the first or second step of the indicated grade, depending on the duration of the acquired professional experience. EMSA offers a comprehensive welfare package including pension scheme, medical, accident and occupational disease insurance coverage, unemployment and invalidity allowance. Further information regarding rights and conditions of employment can be found in the following document.

Staff members newly appointed to a Head of Unit position are obliged to serve a management trial period, in addition to the normal probation period, in both cases for a duration of nine months. A mid-term review shall take place after four months. Please refer to section 6 of the Decision of the Administrative Board laying down implementing rules on middle management in Annex for further information.

Please note that in line with the Staff Regulations recruited candidates shall be required to demonstrate before their first promotion the ability to work in a third European Community language.

The place of employment is Lisbon, Portugal.

Candidates are advised that if they are offered a post, and accept, they must undergo a compulsory medical examination to establish that they meet the standard of physical fitness necessary to perform the duties involved.

EMSA is an Agency focused on gender balance and a harmonic workplace and strongly encourages the applications of women for the positions where they are underrepresented.

8. Submission of applications

Candidates should ensure that they clearly indicate how they meet the selection criteria in their application and motivation letter.

Candidates must submit their application electronically solely via the EMSA website within the deadline. Applications by any other means (hard copy or ordinary e-mail) or submitted after the deadline will not be accepted.

All candidates will receive an acknowledgement of receipt for their application.

EMSA is an equal opportunities employer. Staff is selected without prejudice as to sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.

You may apply in any of the official languages of the European Union, but it would be helpful to apply in English in order to facilitate the selection process.

9. The selection process

The selection process will consist of the following steps:

  1. Assessment of applications by a pre-selection panel: All eligible applications will be evaluated by the pre-selection panel and scored against the selection criteria. Please note that non-compliance with at least one of the essential criteria will result in the exclusion of the candidate from the selection process. Advantageous criteria constitute additional assets and will not result in exclusion, if not fulfilled. The advantageous criteria will be considered by the pre-selection panel depending on the number of applicants meeting the essential criteria. The pre-selection panel will invite to the interview and test phase the candidates (maximum of 15) who best correspond to the profile sought and on condition that they have achieved at least 70% of the highest possible score during the evaluation of applications. Should the case arise that there are various candidates scoring the same number of points in the 15th ranking, the number of candidates to be invited will be increased accordingly to accommodate this.
  2. Interviews and written test with the pre-selection panel: In addition to the interview, all candidates will be obliged to undergo a written test. Following the interview and written test, the pre-selection panel will subsequently draw up a shortlist of the applicants who most correspond to the profile sought to be invited to interview with the Executive Director and two additional members. Only candidates receiving at least 70% of the maximum points of the combined interview and written test will be included in the shortlist.
  3. The applicants on the shortlist shall be invited to an interview with the Executive Director and two additional members.
  4. All applicants invited to the interviews with the Executive Director and the two additional members shall take part in an assessment centre, unless they have already taken part in such an assessment centre in the course of the two years preceding the closing date for the receipt of application at the requisite level. If an applicant has taken part in an assessment centre within this two-year period, but not within the 18 months preceding the closing date for the receipt of applications, he/she may at his/her request be admitted to the assessment centre.
  5. After the assessment centre, the Executive Director and the additional members shall interview the invited applicants.
  6. The selected candidate shall be appointed by the Appointing Authority. The Appointing Authority will decide whether to also adopt a reserve list.

Please refer to Article 9 and Article 15 of the Decision of the Administrative Board laying down implementing rules on middle management for further information regarding the selection process.

All candidates will receive an information letter of the outcome of their application.

Please be informed that due to the current COVID-19 situation, there is a possibility that the interviews and/or the written tests could be organised remotely. Further information on the organisation of the  test and interview will be provided upon invitation.

The reserve list will remain valid for a period of 1 year following its establishment, with the possibility of renewal.

Therefore, candidates whose name will be put on a reserve list could be offered a contract during this period of time. Please note however, that inclusion in the reserve list does not guarantee recruitment.

Please note that the selection process may take several months to be completed and that no information will be released during this period. Once a selection process has been completed, its status will be displayed in the e-recruitment.

Candidates are strictly forbidden to make any contact with the members of the selection committee, either directly or indirectly. Any infringement of this rule will lead to disqualification from the selection procedure.

Please note that a binding commitment can only be made after verification of all conditions and will take the form of a contract signed by the Executive Director.

Please note that once you have created your EMSA profile, any correspondence regarding your application must be sent or received via your EMSA profile.

For any prior enquiry, please refer to the FAQ (Frequently asked questions) section, or send an e-mail to recruitment@emsa.europa.eu

Requests for information:

An applicant who would like further information or considers that he/she has grounds for complaint concerning a particular decision of the selection procedure may send a request by e-mail to recruitment@emsa.europa.eu preferably within 10 working days from the date he/she was notified.

EMSA Human Resources will forward the request to the Chairperson of the Selection Committee and the applicant will receive a reply as soon as possible.

How to lodge a complaint:

An applicant may lodge a complaint under Article 90(2) of the Staff Regulations of Officials of the European Communities and Conditions of employment of other servants of the European Communities by email to recruitment@emsa.europa.eu or registered mail at the following address:

Human Resources Unit


Praca Europa 4

1249-206 Lisbon


The time limit for initiating this type of procedure is three months (see Article 90(2) of the Staff Regulations as amended by Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1023/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2013, OJ L 287, 29.10.2013 from the time you become aware of the act allegedly prejudicing your interests.

Applicants can make a complaint to the European Ombudsman. Before submitting a complaint to the European Ombudsman applicants must already have contacted EMSA about the matter and used all the internal administrative options for review and/or complaints provided for in the Staff Regulations.

More information: https://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/en/home

Personal Data protection:


The processing of personal data in the Community institutions and bodies like agencies is regulated by Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2018 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data by the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 and Decision No 1247/2002/EC.

The Applicant shall have the right of access to his/her personal data and the right to rectify any such data that is inaccurate or incomplete. Should the Applicant have any queries concerning the processing of his/her personal data, (s)he shall address them to the delegated controller of the data, Head of Human Resources Unit. The Applicant shall have right of recourse at any time to the European Data Protection Supervisor.

For more on personal data protection and related documents see the Personal Data Protection page.