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Two European bodies – the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Banking Authority (EBA) – currently located in London have to be relocated, following the UK’s exit from the EU in 2019. Several countries have put forward a collection of cities which could meet the needs and requirements for hosting these supranational organisations. For instance, Paris, Brussels or Frankfort have been proposed by their home countries to welcome the new headquarters for the EBA, while Denmark and Ireland seem to be taking the lead on getting the EMA’s new headquarters.

In fact, the European Commission has just released an assessment of the potential new hosts for the EMA and the EBA on September 30th. This paper – which follows the guidelines set up by the remaining 27 EU Member States and encompasses the criteria that have been decided on for the next hosts to fulfil – individually assesses each of the 27 offers for both agencies. While no official ranking has been formally established by the Commission, it already appears that some offers seem more relevant in the eyes of the Commission, as they fulfil more criteria than any other locations, such as Denmark and Ireland as previously stated.

Before the turmoil generated by Brexit, these two agencies had been placed in the UK because the country was still part of the Union at the time they were created, and a suitable location to host them. However, as the EU is now faced with the UK’s withdrawal, the two agencies have to be moved to a location which is still part of the European Union’s territory. Any European body indeed needs to operate within EU borders. The UK should have no say in the negotiations for relocating the two agencies. Thus, competition has started among other European countries which seek to host these agencies, as they could bring positive externalities to the cities that will next receive them.

The EMA actually acts as an important watchdog for European pharmaceutical companies and medicinal products in general. It has an essential role in monitoring these companies and authorizing new drugs before they enter the European market. Getting the best possible location for the EMA to continue working in the most suitable conditions therefore is an important task to fulfil.

As for the EBA, the agency regulates and supervises the entire European banking sector, seeking to maintain a stable and efficient banking system in the EU. Its role is also of the upmost importance, and the new host city should already have a well-developed financial sector available, which would help the EBA to connect more easily to the rest of the Europe.

The final decision will need to be debated about and reached by the 27 remnant countries of the EU. The Commission’s assessment should still serve as an objective and impartial opinion on each of 27 offers proposed by Member States.

Raphaël Moncada

For further information:

Agence France Presse: https://www.yahoo.com/news/crucial-round-brexit-agency-bidding-war-035701121.html

EUbusiness: http://www.eubusiness.com/topics/institutions/eba-ema

European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/ema-relocation-general-assessment-summary.pdf

Financial Times: https://www.ft.com/content/50cbc818-78db-37c0-928e-a5905524c4b0

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