- EU members will vote on where to relocate the European Banking Authority and European Medicines Agency on Monday.
- Both agencies are currently located in London, but are required to move to separate European cities when the UK leaves the EU in 2019.
- The moves will impact hundreds of jobs and transfer millions in funding to two new locations.
LONDON — Two key London-based European Union (EU) agencies that employ hundreds of people find out on Monday where they will be relocated when the UK leaves the EU.
The 27 EU member states will vote in Brussels on where the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are to be moved, from 27 proposals across 23 cities. Although Brussels, Dublin, Vienna and Warsaw have proposed to host both agencies, a member state will not be permitted to host both agencies.
Frankfurt, Vienna and Dublin are bookies’ Ladbrokes’ favourites for the EBA, while Bratislava, Milan and Amsterdam are the favourites for the EMA. The moves will impact almost 1,000 jobs and transfer millions in annual funding from London to two new cities.
“Nobody really knows what is going to happen,” a diplomat told Reuters. “They will be locked there for hours… You can try to secure some backing but it’s a secret ballot and you have no way of checking whether what you agreed was honoured.”
The EMA is responsible for the scientific evaluation, supervision and safety monitoring of medicines in the EU, while the EBA works to ensure effective and consistent prudential regulation and supervision across the European banking sector. There have been eight offers to host the EBA and 19 offers to host the EMA.
Drug companies have warned that relocating from London could delay drug approvals and patient safety checks.
Members will vote according to six criteria. The new site must: assure members the agencies can be established and working by the time the UK leaves the EU; be conveniently located; have good education facilities for the children of agency staff; have a good labour market, social security and medical services for the families of agency staff; ensure business continuity. How many EU agencies the proposed new site has will also be considered.
There will be successive rounds of voting if required, with the votes case by secret ballot. In the event of a tie, the presidency will select one of the two tied offers from a ballot box.
As a result of the UK’s Brexit vote, the EU27 leaders unanimously agreed in June this year to relocate both agencies, and the method for choosing new sites. This endorsement means members cannot reject the outcome of the vote.