Report that State to miss out on EU agencies post-Brexit rejected

Source close to negotiations says ‘Ireland’s biggest problem is it’s not on the continent’

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney rejected the Bloomberg report. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney rejected the Bloomberg report. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

 

The Government has rejected a report that Ireland was viewed as having little chance of hosting either the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or the European Banking Authority (EBA) after Brexit.

The Bloomberg news agency this week said it understood Irish authorities were bracing to lose out in the race to win either organisation, which are being forced from London following the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union.

A total of 19 states have sought to host the EMA and eight want the EBA, with the results of a vote expected to be announced at the EU General Affairs Council meeting on November 20th.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney rejected the Bloomberg report, saying: “I’ve been involved in quite a lot of lobbying for both of those agencies, so I don’t accept that.”

He said a strategic decision should be taken on whether to pursue the EMA or the EBA, “because I think if we continue to pursue both that may undermine our chances of getting one”.

Pursue

A source close to the negotiations told The Irish Times: “The EMA is the one for Ireland to pursue, but this is going to be very difficult because there are so many other member states who have equally good bids and Ireland’s biggest problem is it’s not on the continent.”

There will be successive voting rounds, with the votes cast by secret ballot and all 27 member states having the same number of votes.

Minister for Health Simon Harris said the process of relocating the EMA would “enter a crucial stage in the next two weeks”, with discussions set to take place at both the EU General Affairs Council and European Council.

“The Government is fully behind the bid. Dublin is the best choice for the EMA, its staff, the EU, its citizens and the pharmaceutical industry,” he said.

IDA Ireland chief executive Martin Shanahan said there had been “some speculation” surrounding the status of each country’s EMA bid.

“We have a long track record in securing and embedding large-scale organisations in Dublin and in Ireland and we will bring that approach to bear with the EMA bid also.”