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EMA and EBA to relocate from London due to Brexit

21 November 2017 | Philip Ammerman

The decision was announced on Monday for the successor locations for the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and European Banking Authority (EBA). Both European agencies were required to leave Britain due to Brexit, Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.

The European Medicines Agency will relocate to Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The EMA is responsible for the scientific evaluation, supervision and safety monitoring of pharmaceuticals in the European Union. It employs 900 staff and accounts for 36,000 annual visits by scientists, regulators and corporate executives. The EMA has been based at Canary Wharf in London since 1995 and is an integral part of the Single Market regulatory system.

The European Banking Authority will relocate to Paris, France. The EBA is responsible for prudential regulation and supervision of the European banking sector, maintaining financial stability and safeguarding integrity and efficiency. The EBA employees 150 staff at Canary Wharf, London, and was founded in 2011 to replace the Committee of European Banking Supervisors.

27 European Cities offered to host European Agencies (Infographic (c) European Commission)

EMA EPA Relocation London BREXIT.png

The decision on both relocations was done by vote of the European Affairs ministers of the 27 remaining EU Member States. The procedure implemented was transparent, and included 6 criteria:

  • the assurance that the agency is operational when the UK leaves the EU

  • accessibility of the location

  • schools for the children of the agency staff

  • access to the labour market and health care for employees' spouses and children

  • business continuity

  • geographical spread


European Agency Relocation Process (infographic (c) European Commission)

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The selection of France and The Netherlands raised objections from some EU Member States, particularly those that did not already have an EU Agency located on their territory, and from some Eastern European States.

France already hosts 4 agencies, including the:


The Netherlands is home to 2 agencies:

A full list of all EU Agencies is available here.

The award of the European Banking Authority strengthen French aspirations to increase its role in the financial architecture of Europe after Brexit. Paris Europlace is a business cluster and lobbying initiative established as a public-private organisation to promote the role of the financial sector in France and internationally.

This decision, and the way it has been implemented, confirms several important points, many of which were raised in previous articles on this website:

  1. The European Union continues to work in a legalistic, process-driven manner. Criteria for the relocation were established by the European Commission. A clear process, with decision-making and deadlines, was established. The process was implemented and results announced. In a zone of shared sovereignty which will soon include 27 countries and 500 million citizens, there is no alternative to this process.

  2. The European Union will continue to operate, as the remaining Member States realign and a process of realpolitik continues. Member States continue to fight for their own self-interest within European Institutions.

  3. The two EU Agencies hosted in Britain have indeed been relocated, as was predicted in our article of 29 June 2016.



Philip Ammerman

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Related Articles

Political Realignment and Realpolitik in the European Union, 29 June 2016

The Apparent and Overstated Death of Europe, 28 June 2016

Thoughts on Brexit24 June 2016

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