After Brexit, the European Commission has shied away from ranking which cities should host Europe’s drugs regulator and banking authority suggesting that the decision is up to the 27 member states which will remain.
The EU executive said that its assessment, which was published on Saturday, was entirely based on the information that was provided by governments in their bidding war to host the two agencies, which will be required to relocate from Britain when it withdraws from the European Union.
“It (the assessment) respects the member states’ decision that the criteria should be unweighted and does not provide a ranking or shortlist of any kind,” stated the Commission in a statement.
Eight member states want the European Banking Authority (EBA) while nineteen member states have offered to host the European Medical Agency (EMA)
The final say on where to relocate the agencies lies with European Union leaders who will attempt to reach a deal at their next summit in three weeks’ time, with final decisions set to be made a month later.
Candidate cities will be evaluated based on their capacity to have an office ready in time, healthcare and jobs for the families of staff, the quality of schools, their accessibility, and how disruptive the move would be.
In their enthusiasm to host the agencies, some governments offered tax breaks or rent-free headquarters for the European Union institutions – a big break for the budget of the bloc.
However, the need for the European Union to make sure that business continuity could clash with another ambition of the EU – spreading the agencies of the bloc more evenly across Europe and giving newer, eastern member states an opportunity to catch up.
On Tuesday, the EMA warned that it could lose more than 70% of its staff, making it unable to function, if politicians choose an unpopular base for the London-based agency once Britain withdraws from the European Union.
According to a survey of about 900 of its workers, Barcelona, Vienna, or Amsterdam were the top three choices of staff. All of the said cities already host one or more European Union agencies.
The EMA has stated that it would take at least three years to fully recover from the interruption to its operations. It sees retaining staff as a key to maintaining essential services including a new drug approval and monitoring side effects.