Irish bid for UK-based EU agencies post-Brexit

  • 1 August 2017
  • From the section Europe

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The Irish government has earmarked three potential locations for the EMA – two in Dublin’s docklands

The Irish government has formally bid to host two major EU bodies that will be relocated from London after Brexit.

The European Banking Authority (EBA) and European Medicines Agency (EMA), based in Canary Wharf in London, employ more than 1,000 staff between them.

The Republic of Ireland has offered about 80m euro (£70m) across a decade to help the EMA relocate to Dublin.

Competing against other EU bids, it says a Dublin move would be the least disruptive for the agencies’ staff.

The Irish application was officially submitted on Monday ahead of a midnight deadline.

Financial incentives

The Irish government has committed to spending 15m euro (£13.5m) in the first year to help the EMA fit out the selected premises, and an annual contribution of 7m euro (£6m) annually for rent and maintenance.

The banking and medicines agencies are seen as the first spoils of Brexit by the 27 remaining members of the EU – Politico report that 23 of those entered bids for the EMA.

The Irish government has earmarked three potential locations for the EMA headquarters, two in Dublin’s docklands financial district and another by the city’s airport.

Analysis: John Campbell, BBC News NI Business and Economics Editor

Ireland’s economy is likely to suffer damage as a result of Brexit so landing one of the EU agencies would be some compensation.

The EMA looks like its best chance with the bid emphasising Ireland’s expertise in life science and a proximity to London which could help the agency hold on to key staff.

However what could count against it is a previous EU commitment to spread agencies more evenly across the union.

Ireland is already home to Eurofound, an EU agency which monitors labour markets.

In the EBA bid’s brochure, Irish Minister of State for Financial Services says the city offers a “seamless transition as Ireland is English speaking and culturally similar to London and is within the GMT time zone which helps maintain EBA routine option with minimal disruption”.

There will be fierce competition to attract the agencies’ highly skilled employees, their families and the business that comes with them. This includes about 40,000 hotel stays for visitors each year.

Each country could bid to host one or both agencies, but was only allowed one bid per agency.

What do the agencies do?

European Medicines Agency (EMA)

  • Monitors the safety and quality of medicines EU-wide and issues scientific advice
  • Provides a single route for evaluating medicines, avoiding duplication by member states
  • Helps innovation by collaborating with medicine manufacturers

European Banking Authority (EBA)

  • Works to harmonise European banking rules and supervisory practices
  • Assesses risks and vulnerabilities in the EU banking sector
  • Mediates in cross-border disputes between financial authorities

Frankfurt – location of the European Central Bank and a major financial centre – is seen as favourite location for the EBA, but Paris is also keen to win that contest.

The European Commission will assess the entries based on the quality of office space, job opportunities for spouses, good “European-oriented” schooling and transport links.

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The agencies are currently based in London’s Canary Wharf

Accessibility and efficient infrastructure are the top two agreed criteria.

EU leaders agreed on the procedure in June, and a final decision on the relocation will be made in November.

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