Tajani: Relocation of London-based EU agencies must be done in full transparency

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani has insisted that any decision on the future of the UK-based EU agencies post-Brexit must be based on objective criteria.

Tajani has insisted that any decision on the future of the UK-based EU agencies post-Brexit must be based on objective criteria | Photo credit: Fotolia

By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

01 Sep 2017


European cities from Amsterdam to Zagreb have lined up sweetheart deals including free rents, landmark buildings and tailor-made relocation services in a race to house two prestigious EU agencies that will leave London after Brexit.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) and European Banking Authority (EBA) are both prize spoils from Britain's decision to leave the EU in 2019, promising to boost key industries and the local economies of their new hosts.

But Tajani says that the decision as to who gets to host the agencies must be done in full transparency and meet the criteria set out by the Commission.


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The Italian MEP's comments came after he met with the Executive Director of EMA, Guido Rasi.

Their meeting focused on the EMA's role in health protection and innovation, as well as its relocation due to Brexit.

At the end of the meeting, Tajani said, "Choosing the new headquarters of the EMA must be based on objective criteria drawn up at the European level whose aim must be to make its running as economical and efficient as possible, in the interests of our citizens."

The six criteria identified by the European Commission and EMA, outlined in the Council decision are: the assurance that the agency will be fully operational on the date of the UK's departure, geographical ease of access, the availability of schools for the approximately 600 students who are children of staff, access to the labour market and medical care for the 900 families of staff, business continuity and geographical spread of the different European agencies.

According to Tajani, some candidate cities fully fulfil the criteria required.

He said, "The European Parliament will ensure that the new headquarters will be chosen with due regard for these objective criteria, in full transparency, in the interests of safeguarding the health of our citizens while promoting innovation.

"Speaking of health and innovation, one need only recall that thanks to the work done by the EMA, some 1000 medicines that do not comply with European standards have been removed from the market and that more than 500,000 medicinal products used in Europe have been evaluated."

The competition to host the agencies is fierce, with 19 cities trying to lure the EMA and eight shooting for the EBA. The EMA is the bigger prize, with 890 staff against fewer than 170 at the EBA.

As well as bringing hundreds of skilled jobs, the EMA also attracts 36,000 experts each year to its meetings, making it a boon for local hotels.

The Commission will now assess the various offers by 30 September, based on agreed criteria such as access to infrastructure and business continuity, before ministers from 27 EU member states vote on relocation in November.

For the British government, which earlier this year was still hoping the two agencies could stay in London after Brexit, their move is a double blow, since the EU also wants Britain to pay the cost of relocating them.

 

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