Paris and Amsterdam will be among the main beneficiaries in the fight for the seats of major European institutions after the United Kingdom leaves the EU. The French capital will become the headquarters of the European Banking Authority (EBA), which will relocate from London, while Amsterdam will be home to the currently London-based European Medicines Agency (EMA). Both institutions currently employ about 1,000 people in the British metropolis. French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that the win for Paris was “a recognition of France’s attractiveness and European commitment”.
The winning cities were chosen in a secret ballot in which ministers from the 27 EU countries remaining in the bloc were deciding among 16 cities bidding for the EMA and 8 bidding for the EBA – Brussels, Dublin, Frankfurt, Paris, Prague, Luxembourg City, Vienna and Warsaw. The final vote pitched Paris against Dublin. Frankfurt, which is home to the European Central Bank and voted to attract the EMA as well, lost out early in the voting. The EMA is the more attractive of the two organizations, as it promises to make its new host into a hub for Europe’s medical industry. When asked to comment on the decision to give the EMA to Amsterdam, Italy’s Europe Minister Sandro Gozi said that “it’s like losing a final on penalties.”
Steve Bates, Chief Executive of the UK’s Bio-Industry Association, commented that “businesses now need certainty. The best way to do this is by an early agreement to a transition timeframe and continued close regulatory cooperation. We must now ensure Brexit does not disrupt the safe supply of vital medicines to tens of millions of families in the EU 27 and the UK.” Slovakia had been trying hard to make a case for Bratislava to become the EMA’s seat. Following its failure to win, Slovak leaders might try to gain support for the country’s minister to become chair of the Eurogroup, which runs policy for the single currency area.