A huge void will open up in Europe's institutional landscape at the end of this month, when the Western European Union (WEU) ceases to exist.
But international organisations do not simply disappear – they leave behind “residual administrative tasks”, which in this case have been entrusted to the EU Satellite Centre in Torrejón de Ardoz, near Madrid. The Satellite Centre will now administer the pensions of WEU officials and their social plan, and assist in the liquidation of WEU assets.
To that end, the Satellite Centre has been instructed by EU member states to recruit new staff, to be financed from a €5.3 million fund that is to be created by the ten states that launched the WEU in 1954 – Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and the United Kingdom.
The WEU, then, lives on in satellite form. The Satellite Centre was chosen for the new task because it is one of just two EU institutional descendants from the WEU. (The other being the Institute for Security Studies in Paris.)