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European agencies to get new locations

Three European Union cities come close to the end of the race to host the European Medicines Agency (EMA) ahead of a secret ballot later today to choose its new home as Britain prepares to leave the bloc.

Hosting the EMA and the European Banking Authority (EBA), both currently based in London, will bring jobs, business euros and prestige, so competition has been tough, though there have also been signs of regional solidarity in the contest.

Malta withdrew from the race to host the EMA on Friday and Croatia dropped out on Monday. Sources familiar with the issue in Brussels said Ireland had also now pulled out, leaving 16 EU cities competing to host the EMA.

The two winners – whichever country wins the EMA will be excluded from running for the second agency –  EBA –  both will be selected today  in a series of votes with a result difficult to predict.

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