Criticism of decision on EU agencies' locations

After the Brexit two EU agencies will relocate from London. On Monday it was decided that the European Banking Authority (EBA) will move to Paris and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to Amsterdam. Some commentators warmly welcome the decision while others find it deeply disappointing and see it as a symbol of a deeply divided EU.

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Club Z (BG) /

Eastern Europe, the EU's unloved stepchild

It's very telling that in deciding in favour of Paris and Amsterdam the EU has avoided the mass layoffs that would have resulted if these jobs had been moved to an Eastern European country, Club Z writes:

“That speaks volumes about the discrepancy between the words of the leaders in the EU Commission and the deeds of their generously paid civil servants. The Brexit may have brought the 27 closer together, but it also has the potential to divide them. The poker game over the EMA and the Banking Authority is just the start. Next comes the squabbling over which location will succeed London City and who can spend how much of the EU budget. By the looks of it we're in for a merciless battle.”

Jutarnji list (HR) /

Still not equals

A deep divide separates the "new" member states from the "old" ones, Jutarnji list comments:

“The defining feature of this vote is not the dramatic finale but an unpleasant truth: the deep division of the EU into east and west. Not only did no candidate from the east of the EU win, none of them even made it into the second round comprising the top three candidates for one of the two agencies. ... The new members interpret this as proof that they don't have equal rights and that the older, richer member states continue to receive preferential treatment.”

De Telegraaf (NL) /

Amsterdam wins and loses

De Telegraaf is delighted at the news of the European Medicines Agency's move to Amsterdam but warns against overenthusiasm:

“The EMA will create thousands of jobs, both at its headquarters and in the economy as a whole. As well as many high-skilled positions it will bring roughly 1,500 new jobs in catering, security and childcare. However, the success of the EMA's relocation to Amsterdam must not conceal the dangers posed by Brexit. Yes, Brexit means the EMA must leave London. But it also has the potential to do great harm to our economy because there is a huge volume of trade between the Netherlands and Britain.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Bad for Europe's credibility

The EU hasn't done itself any favours by drawing lots to decide the authorities' new location, writes Corriere della Sera:

“This procedure is, to put it mildly, stupid and extremely hypocritical. First the candidate countries were asked to provide highly complex and sophisticated technical dossiers, only for them to be completely ignored when it came to a deadlock and the decision to be made by drawing lots. ... What advantages such a bizarre procedure can have for Europe's credibility and its popularity with EU citizens is anybody's guess.”

Il Sole 24 Ore (IT) /

A ridiculous decision

Milan would have been the most logical location for the European Medicines Agency and the EU has made a fool of itself with the draw, Il Sole 24 Ore rails:

“Milan is the interface between industry and the technological avant-garde, and the EU should have recognised that with its decision. But no: first the candidate cities were made to prove their mettle as economic locations, then they were held up for ridicule with this completely incomprehensible procedure. One can easily imagine the smirking of Washington, Moscow and Beijing. ... In a post-globalised world the EU is a political and institutional dwarf sitting on the shoulders of other dwarves, namely the countries that form this union.”