The Netherlands is one of more than 20 EU member states which have put themselves forward as the new location for either the European Banking Authority and the European Medicines Agency when they move out of London, the Financieele Dagblad said on Thursday.
The selection process will be a test of the new EU, the paper said.
The Netherlands has set its sights on the EMA, saying Amsterdam is a top location due to its accessibility and plentiful accommodation for both staff and visitors – the EMA receives tens of thousands of visitors each year. Other contenders for the EMA include Barcelona, Copenhagen, Lille, Milan and Vienna.
However there is a strong lobby from eastern Europe which argues the independent EU agencies should go to the newer member states. The European Commission has promised to use ‘objective criteria’ in determining where the agencies should go.
There is also disagreement over the voting procedures: should it be consensus or a complicated three rounds of voting? ‘Counting on consensus is counting on a miracle,’ one high EU diplomat warned.
Amsterdam is grappling with a shortage of suitable housing and international school places, both of which are likely to be key issues in the competition to house the agency.
The government has recently pledged to invest €11m in expanding the number of international school places in both the capital and The Hague. Sources told the FD earlier that officials will offer help in finding housing and school places but that the government is not going to offer financial help with housing or other benefits to attract EMA staff.
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