The queue of countries looking to scalp London post-Brexit grows…

26 Oct 2016

Brexit. Image: Brilliantist Studio/Shutterstock

The European Medicines Agency and the European Banking Authority have become two of the most prized assets in Europe post-Brexit, but who will woo them from London?

This week, the Irish Government staked a claim for both the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Banking Authority (EBA), with London no longer perceived to be a viable home for the agencies.

The UK’s decision to leave the EU, not as yet fully enacted but voted on in a landmark referendum this year, seemingly makes the agencies’ current home untenable.


As industry regulators, the appeal of housing EMA and EBA in your country is that it could attract supplementary investment in the areas concerned. London has felt the benefit of this in both financial services and life sciences since these agencies set up shop there.

The EMA, with a staff of almost 900, is the largest EU body in Britain. It has been approving Europe-wide drugs for over 20 years from England’s capital.

“Dublin would be a very suitable location, and a move to the Irish capital would minimise the disruption to the business of the EMA, thus ensuring continued protection of EU citizens and providing reassurance to the industries which it regulates,” said Minister for Health, Simon Harris, TD.

“As a country with experience in providing links to banks and companies in the UK market, Ireland provides an ideal new home for the staff of the EBA,” added Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, TD.

The potential for hundreds of direct jobs, and thousands of jobs in complementary company introductions and expansions in the country, is what has attracted Ireland to enter the race for EMA and EBA – though it’s hardly alone in that regard.

In early July, less than two weeks after the Brexit vote returned its shock result, Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi created a task force to lobby its case.

Mayor of Milan, Giuseppe Sala, travelled to London on 6 July to promote its city as the perfect candidate to host both agencies, “thanks to its excellent infrastructure, ten universities, investments aiming to further bolster the post-Expo area and a real estate market which is in full recovery”.

Around the same time, Spain’s deputy prime minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría argued the case for her country to house the agencies.

“Both are of great interest to Spain and we will work on the possibility that at least one of them will be located on Spanish territory,” she said at the time.

These expressions of interest came after France, the Netherlands and Germany’s plans for Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt, respectively, were put on the table. This trio actually got to work before the Brexit vote came in.

Sweden, Denmark and Poland are other countries looking for a slice of the pie, too.

This is now an international race, with the UK to pass the baton over to the next winner.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic