On 20 October, 2017, the leaders of governments within the European Union vied for the opportunity to host one the European Union’s agencies. It was a chance for national leaders to communicate with each other regarding the upcoming decision.
During a summit meeting, national leaders took the opportunity of being around each other to promote their own countries, in hopes of being chosen to host the EMA or the EBA during this next rotation. Although the matter was on the agenda for the meeting, it was only discussed very briefly. As the Dutch prime minister noted, for just “one minute.” However, several leaders took the chance to speak privately with each other privately and lobby for votes.
Currently, Estonia and its prime minister, Juri Ratas, hold the EU presidency. The presidency rotates through European Union countries every six months, giving each country a chance to hold power. What is currently at stake though is not the presidency, but rather the location of two European Union agencies: the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Banking Authority (EBA).
Since Brexit, both of these agencies are in need of a new home. Although most member states are eligible for at least one, if not both of these agencies, obviously the agencies can only go to one country each.
This is a heavy decision and thus the leaders of each country were careful about who they spoke with and what they said publicly. The two countries that are the most likely candidates, however, are Italy for the EMA and the Netherlands for the EBA.
Originally, the decision for where the agencies would go was to be made at the general affairs council and the national leaders would have no role at all in the decision. But since the decision was delayed, national leaders were able to have more of a say in votes through the summit on 20 October.
This decision will come to a vote on 20 November, so these countries and the 1,000 employees of these agencies still have to wait some time before they hear where the agencies will go next.
A vote will be held through three rounds. If, by the end of the third round, there is a tie, lots will be drawn by the Estonian presidency in order to determine a winner. The EMA has nineteen possibilities for where it could end up after November’s vote. The EBA has only eight.
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