E.B.A. and E.M.A.: Europe is calling!

Brexit’s impact on EU is definitely not completed, but it is ongoing.

In these days, the main topic is related to EBA’s and EMA’s headquarters, both currently situated in London. After Brexit, the European Banking Authority and the European Medicines Agency have no longer reason to be in the British capital and the 27 member states have to decide where to move them. The deadline to submit the candidacy is established on 31 July 2017. The fight is open. The competition is really getting going especially for EMA, which employs about 900 operators and attracts a rich business. Among the candidates there are: Italy (Milan), Spain (Barcelona), Holland (Amsterdam), Denmark (Copenhagen), Austria (Wien), Greece (Athene), Malta (La Valletta), Portugal (Lisbon), Sweden (Stockholm), but also eastern countries: Romania (Bucharest), Slovakia (Bratislava) and Hungary (Budapest). For Eba, Frankfurt seems the favourite, since also ECB is set there, but the winner is not taken for granted and even Luxemburg is in the running, against other five cities.

Alongside the difficulties of choosing the right place, another burning question regards the process and selection criteria.

Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, and Jean-Claude Junker, President of the European Commission, have proposed a complex majority voting system, abandoning the “usual” unanimity, in order to avoid the paralysis of the decision.

According to the Project Board, the member states will express their opinion in a maximum of three round of voting. In the first, each country will have six votes to be distributed as following: three votes to the first preference, two to the second and the last one to the third. To be the winner, one city has to receive three votes from at least 14 countries over 27. If this doesn’t happen, the three most voted candidates will access the second phase, in which each country will have only one vote and the winner will need 14/27 votes. If the majority is not reached, the run-off will start and the most voted city will win. In case of draw, the decision will be taken by the chance.

The two Presidents schedule the election during the European Council in October. However, this voting proposal is meeting the opposition of many member states, since they would prefer the unanimity mechanism, used until now. The issue could be transmitted to the leaders who are meeting in these days for the traditional mid-year summit.

As far as the selection criteria are concerned, six are the aspects to be taken into consideration to choose the new headquarter:

  1. The time needed to make it operative;
  2. Its accessibility;
  3. The presence of schools nearby for the employees’ children;
  4. The access to the labour market as well as to the health and social services for the children and the partners;
  5. The continuity of the activity must be guarantee certainly;
  6. The geographical position.

About the last criteria, the eastern countries are putting the stress on the fact that since 2003, with the EU’s enlargement towards the East, the member states committed to equally set the European institutions all over the communitarian territory. On the other hand, the central/western countries (Italy, Germany and Spain) would prefer an evaluation based on meritocracy. In any case, the EU negotiations’ guidelines for Brexit establish that all the transfer costs are supported by London.

It is surely an important decision, which could also represent a turning point for some countries: in term of fostering the development, especially for eastern countries, or giving new impulse in order to overcome the recession to the old economic powers of the continent.

There is a lot to think about. The near future will be crucial to define the new European institutional placement.