Headquarters of two key EU agencies to go to Paris and Amsterdam
Dublin and Milan lose in drawing of lots for hosting of banking and medicines agencies
Dublin ran Paris to the last count for the European Banking Agency, beaten on what Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney described as a “technicality”.
Paris and Amsterdam last night won the right to host two key European Union agencies following Brexit, snatching the prizes in both cases through the political equivalent of a penalty shoot-out – by lot – from Dublin and Milan respectively .
Dublin ran Paris to the last count for the European Banking Agency, beaten on what Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney described as a “technicality”, a spoiled vote after one country ticked yes to both the final candidates.
Mr Coveney disputed the suggestion the drawing of lots that was triggered was the equivalent of a penalty shoot-out – “In a penalty shoot-out at least there’s an element of skill.”
Earlier in the day Amsterdam pipped Milan at the post for the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
Mr Coveney paid tribute to what he said had been a magnificent effort by Irish officials and Ministers who had run a fine campaign for the last two months for both agencies. In the end they had beaten Germany and had been unbeaten by France, he said. At the last minute he had withdrawn the EMA candidacy to give the EBA bid a chance. He would not be drawn on which country had been the beneficiary of his EMA first preference.
Field of eight cities
Officials said Ireland had not been expected to win the EBA, but the field of eight cities – Brussels, Dublin, Frankfurt, Luxembourg, Paris, Prague, Vienna and Warsaw – was far narrower than the 16 eventually seeking the EMA, following the withdrawal before voting of Ireland, Malta and Croatia.
In the first round, each minister had six votes to cast – three for their first preference, two for their second, and one for the third – and the trade in first preferences was seen as crucial as on the first count the city with 14 first preferences was to be deemed elected.
Dublin emerged at the end of the first round of voting on the EBA with 28 votes to Paris’s 34 and Frankfurt’s 32. All three went through to the second round.
At the end of the second round Frankfurt went out, leaving Dublin vying with Paris for the prize.
In the final round Dublin and Paris got 13 votes each, with one vote spoiled.
The EBA, with a staff of 167, is the umbrella regulator for the EU’s banking system, founded in 2011 as a beefed-up form of an earlier committee of European domestic financial supervisors. Its purpose is to attempt to enforce a “single rulebook” approach to overseeing banks across the EU.
Ireland, like other bidders, was putting up some incentives – €13.5 million in rental support for 10 years to the EBA, about 50 per cent of its estimated rental costs . The Government did not offer any specific building but said a significant number of suitable buildings were available.
The Irish vote will be seen in some ways as an act of solidarity by member states aware of the economic cost that Brexit is likely inflict on Ireland.
It was also not to be for the larger – 900-strong – European Medicines Agency. The voting in three rounds for the EMA saw the candidate cities whittled down to the three leading candidates which went through to the second round – Milan (25 votes), Amsterdam (20) and Copenhagen (20). Copenhagen then went out with the final two tying in the third round. The winner, Amsterdam, was drawn by lot.