Amsterdam, Paris capture EU agency 'Brexit booty'

Amsterdam and Paris will host two prestigious EU agencies when the organisations leave their current bases in London following Brexit.

Paris will be the new location for the European Banking Authority (EBA), while Amsterdam is getting the larger European Medicines Agency (EMA).

The competition for the agencies went down to the wire on Monday evening in Brussels and was resolved by the drawing of lots after three rounds of inconclusive voting. Amsterdam was tied with Milan in the third round of voting organised by the EU for the EMA. Sixteen cities had applied to host the medical agency. 

Paris, meanwhile, won the drawing of lots against main rival Dublin for the banking agency. French president Emmanuel Macron tweeted that the victory was a 'recognition of France's attractiveness and European commitment'.

European Medicines Agency
The Dutch win of the medicines agency followed months of hard lobbying, which ended with a tight finish on Monday evening which saw both Amsterdam and Milan draw 13 votes each in the final round. The EU’s current president Estonia subsequently drew lots to decide the winner.

Amsterdam’s pitch to land the EMA included the promise of a new purpose-built office building in the city’s Zuidas business district. The new premises will be located near the RAI congress and exhibition centre, according to Amsterdam’s alderman for economic affairs Udo Kock, speaking to Dutch radio.

The Dutch government has said it would finance a €250-300 mln building for the EMA, which would then pay the market rate for the space.

The Dutch government has also offered an €18 mln ‘sweetener’ and a full relocation package for the agency’s 900 staff. The Netherlands already hosts two European institutions – Europol and Eurojust.

The EMA is a decentralised EU agency, which began operations in 1995 and is responsible for the scientific evaluation, supervision and safety monitoring of medicines developed by pharmaceutical companies for use in the EU.

The agency has a workforce of some 900 people from all over Europe. Lille, Brussels, Copenhagen Stockholm, Dublin, Barcelona and Milan were among the other cities hoping to win the bid for the EMA.


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