Paris has emerged as the winner in another dramatic contest to host the EU’s banking regulator after Brexit. The French capital beat out Dublin after the two cities were tied in a final round vote to host the European Banking Authority, with the eventual name being picked out of a hat on Monday.
Frankfurt, touted as an early favourite and home of the European Central Bank, was kicked out in the first round. Earlier today, Amsterdam emerged as the new host of the EU’s medicines agency in another tight contest also decided by the drawing of lots.
The relocation decisions from London are some of the first concrete decisions taken by the bloc after the UK’s exit. The votes were carried out by the 27 EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday night. The EMA will bring with it over 900 high quality jobs to the Netherlands, with over 100 now moving to the EBA in France.
The decision means Paris will be home to both the EBA and the European Securities and Markets Agency (ESMA) – marking a major win for president Emmanuel Macron’s bid to turn the French capital into Europe’s premier financial hub after Brexit. Mr Macron said the decision was a reflection of the “attractiveness and European commitment of the France”.
Slovakia abstained from the vote for the EMA in protest at the lack of a smaller country being represented in the race. Bratislava had been touted as one of the favourites but eventually came fourth in the race behind Amsterdam, Milan and Copenhagen.
Amid criticism of the arbitrary nature of final decision drawn through lots, Estonia’s minister – who chaired the meeting – said the process was “transparent”. “All the bidders did very thorough preparatory work”, said Estonia’s deputy Europe minister Marti Masikas.
“As for the transparency of this procedure, previously the EU’s agencies have been located by a decision of the European Council, usually late at night. This time we had the bids, we had the assessments. I call it an improvement”, said the minister.