Britain’s departure from the European Union will be celebrated by two European cities soon even though it is still over a year for Brexit to take place. Brexit
Because Britain is leaving the EU, moving to a new city in the block is eminent for the European Banking Authority and the European Medicines Agency, two major EU agencies now based in London. And most of the EU’s other 27 nations are fighting over the two prizes.
A deep political beauty contest is what the process of attracting the agencies has turned out into even though rigid rules and conditions had bene set by the EU so that a fair, objective decision could be taken.
A secret vote is to be held on Monday at EU headquarters in Brussels to culminate that tug of war between cities.
Whichever leader succeeds to take home the two agencies would mean a lot of bragging rights, prestige around the world, 1,000 top jobs with many more indirectly linked, and tens of millions in annual funding.
“I will throw my full weight behind this,” French President Emmanuel Macron said when he visited Lille, which is seeking to host the EMA once Britain leaves in the EU in March 2019. “Now is the final rush.”
To obtain support for their bids, leaders were seen lobbying each other at an EU summit Friday in Goteborg, Sweden.
Safety monitoring, scientific evaluation and supervision of medicines in the EU are the responsibilities of the EMA. Hosting about 36,000 experts every year, the agency hosts more than 500 scientific meetings and has about 890 staff.
Europe’s banking sector is regulated and supervised by the EBA with about 180 staff.
A glimpse into the EU’s future outlook can be had from the allotment of the cities for the agencies even as a large number of cities from everywhere in the EU – including the founding nations of the block and the newest members to the block.
Nations like Germany, France and Belgium are still home for a number of key EU institutions as they are the founding members of the block about 60 years ago. But the new members of the EU view a prime opportunity for stating claim one of these cherished EU headquarters.
No headquarters are present in the counties of Romania and Bulgaria who were the last to get into the EU in 2007. In addition to the tiny nation of Malta, thes two countries now want the EMA.
“We deserve this. Because as we all know, Romania is an EU member with rights and obligations equal with all the rest of the member states,” said Rodica Nassar of Romania’s Healthcare Ministry.
“You have to imagine, for example, for the banking authority, which relies on basically 200 very high-level experts in banking regulatory matters to move to another place,” said Karel Lannoo of the CEPS think tank. “First of all, to motivate these people to move elsewhere. And then if you don’t manage to motivate these people, to find competent experts in another city.”
(Adapted from CNBC)