EMBL Council

The EMBL Council ensures that the financial requirements of the agreement establishing EMBL and of the agreements with host member states are complied with.

The Council is composed of all member states of the Laboratory. Each member state is represented by up to two delegates, who may be accompanied by advisers.

The EMBL Council is chaired by Professor Eirikur Steingrimsson (IS). His vice-chairs are Professor Anne Paoletti (FR) and Professor Peter Becker (DE). The Council elects a chair and two vice-chairs who hold office for one year and may be re-elected on not more than two consecutive occasions.

Member states of the European Molecular Biology Conference (EMBC) may attend Council session as of right as observers. States not members of the EMBC may take part as observers by unanimous vote of the member states present and voting.

The Council determines the Laboratory's policy in scientific, technical and administrative matters, in particular by giving guidelines to the Director General.

Council approves unanimously the indicative scheme for the realisation of the scientific programme and specifies its duration. The indicative scheme determines the maximum credits that may be committed or spent during the duration of that scheme. After the expiry of the indicative scheme Council shall determine in the same manner maximum credits for a new period to be defined by Council.

Council adopts the annual budget by a two-thirds majority of the member states present and voting provided that, either the contributions of such member states constitute not less than two-thirds of the total contributions to the laboratory, or that affirmative votes are cast by all but one of the member states present and voting.

Council approves provisional estimates of expenditure for the two following years, adopts financial regulations, approves and publishes audited annual accounts, approves the annual report presented by the Director General, decide on the staff establishment, adopt staff rules, decide on the establishment of groups and facilities of the EMBL outside its headquarters, adopt rules of procedure, has such powers and performs such functions as may be necessary for the purposes of the Laboratory.

There are normally two Council meetings per year ─ one in summer and one in winter. The meetings take place at the EMBL headquarters or at one of the EMBL outstations. It may also meet in extraordinary session.

Each member state has one vote in the Council. States which have signed but not yet ratified, accepted or approved the EMBL agreement may be represented at the sessions of Council and take part in its work, without the right to vote.

A member state in arrears in the payment of its contributions has no vote at the Council session at which the Director General states that the amount of its arrears equals or exceeds the amounts of the contributions due from it for the preceding two financial years.

The presence of delegates of a majority of all member states is necessary to constitute a quorum at any session of the Council.

Council Secretariat

The Council Secretariat is responsible for the organisation, preparation and execution of Council and Finance Committee meetings and sub-committee meetings of these bodies. There are normally two Council and Finance Committee meetings per year – one in summer and one in winter. The meetings take place at the EMBL headquarters in Heidelberg or at one of the EMBL sites.

The Secretariat maintains the Staff Rules and Regulations, the Financial Regulations and Internal Financial Rules, the Rules of Procedure of Council, the Rules Establishing the Scientific Advisory Committee and other official Council documents. These documents can only be revised following decision by Council.

It is also responsible for the Council and Finance Committee archives, as well as the archive of agreements relating to the establishment of EMBL, its sites and social security issues.


Fax: +49 6221 387-8211
Email: council@embl.org


EMBL is an inter-governmental organisation with 27 member states, one associate member and two prospect members that is led by the Director General, Prof. Edith Heard, appointed by the EMBL Council.