Re: EPO not beholden to national laws
"Can they ignore all local laws?"
As regards employment, yep.
The EPO was a classic case of a dysfunctional jobsworth type organisation where the employees were operating in "German union" mode. So basically no matter how useless or lazy someone is it was very hard to fire them or even to tell them how their job was to be done.
That's why the EU bought in the new senior EPO management to kick some arse and ditch the unionisation / dated attitudes.