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Paris and Amsterdam win right to host EU regulators post-Brexit

Out-Law News | 21 Nov 2017 | 4:09 pm | 2 min. read

The European Banking Authority (EBA) is to be relocated to Paris, and European Medicines Agency (EMA) relocated to Amsterdam as part of arrangements being put in place ahead of the UK's withdrawal from the EU.

Paris and Amsterdam were selected to host the EU agencies by representatives from the remaining 27 EU member states in a vote on Monday. Both regulators are currently based in London.

"These relocations were inevitable following the result of the UK's EU referendum," said banking law expert Tony Anderson of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com. "They demonstrate in the case of the EMA, that it is not just the UK finance industry which will be impacted by Brexit but also the numerous other sectors and industries which have relied upon the critical mass of London as a global hub to create efficiencies, to attract interest and more importantly, to attract investment."

Specialist in life sciences Catherine Drew of Pinsent Masons said: "The view of the pharmaceutical industry is strongly that London’s loss is Amsterdam’s gain and that steps must now be taken to ensure there is certainty for those in the sector and those relying upon the products of the sector and that further disruption as a result of Brexit is minimised."

France fought off competition from seven other countries to win the EBA vote, with rival bids promoting the likes of Dublin and Frankfurt as host cities.

In a bid document submitted ahead of the vote, French president Emmanuel Macron said: "As a leading financial centre with strong ties to other European capital cities and financial hubs, Paris is the ideal base to interact with financial sector stakeholders across the continent. The city is also known for its quality of life, with a vibrant, outward-looking job market and world-renowned educational provision. In that sense, Paris is a safe bet for attracting the very best talent."

Macron pledged to "finalise a headquarters agreement" for the EBA before the UK leaves the EU at the end of March in 2019. He also said France would put €1.5 million "towards lease and fit-out costs for the authority’s new premises".

Amsterdam was one of 19 cities that bid to host the EMA. The regulator said it would now "prepare for the move and take up its operations in Amsterdam on 30 March 2019 at the latest".

EMA executive director Guido Rasi said: "Amsterdam ticks many of our boxes. It offers excellent connectivity and a building that can be shaped according to our needs. I am very grateful that the member states took into account our requirements for business continuity and gave priority to the protection of public and animal health."

"Our internal surveys have shown that a large majority of EMA staff would be willing to move with the Agency to Amsterdam. However even in this case, our activities will be impacted and we need to plan for this now to avoid the creation of gaps in knowledge and expertise," Rasi said.