Milan, Amsterdam and Copenhagen battle to host Medicines Agency

Ireland withdraws its bid to concentrate instead on the European Banking Agency

Milan, Amsterdam and Copenhagen have emerged out of a first round ballot on the European Medicines Agency to proceed to round two.

Ministers are voting on the post-Brexit relocation of the agency on Monday.

Ireland this morning withdrew its bid to host the agency in Dublin as part of a tactical move to help it win the smaller European Banking Agency (EBA) which is also relocating.

Officials said Ireland’s hopes of winning the EBA remained slim but the field of eight cities - Brussels, Dublin, Frankfurt, Luxembourg, Paris, Prague, Vienna and Warsaw - is far narrower than the 15 that were seeking the EMA.

Each minister has 6 votes to cast - 3 for their first preference, 2 for their second, and 1 for the third - and the trade in first preferences is particularly valuable as on the first count a state with 14 first preferences will be deemed elected.

Ireland is believed to have offered its EMA first preference votes in exchange for another member state’s support in the EBA ballot.

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 €10 million to help ease EMA staff relocations. It is offering €13.5 million in rental support for ten years to the EBA.

The Government did not offer any specific building for the EBA but said there are a significant number of suitable buildings available.

The EBA decision is expected by 7pm (Irish time).

Patrick Smyth

Patrick Smyth

Patrick Smyth is former Europe editor of The Irish Times