European Union agency relocation race starts with 23 cities

EMA in UK

GettyThe agency has 890 staff from all over the world at its headquarters in the UK

Which countries are seriously interested in hosting the headquarters of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which has to move from London after Brexit?

According to Council of the European Union, EU members states have officially proposed 23 European cities that could be used as post-Brexit relocation sites for the two EU agencies now based in the United Kingdom.

The high number of bids - coming from all but six of the 27-post Brexit EU member states - sets the stage for a tough battle for the prized bodies, which together employ some 1,000 highly skilled workers.

The Irish application was officially submitted on Monday ahead of a midnight deadline.

European states have until midnight on Monday to bid for two major United Kingdom -based EU agencies which will be relocated amid Britain's departure from the European Union.

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Considered a major draw for the pharmaceutical industry, Sweden hopes to host the EMA in capital city Stockholm, which it argues would come with several advantages.

The European Commission will publish an assessment of the offers by September 30th.

The northern Italian business hub is seen as the front-runner among rival bidders which include Barcelona, Bonn, Helsinki, Athens, Amsterdam and Porto.

Cities hoping for the EBA are: Brussels, Dublin, Frankfurt, Paris, Prague, Luxembourg City, Vienna, Warsaw.

The victor will be selected using a complicated points system that officials have compared to the Eurovision song contest.

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Among criteria for selection are a city's infrastructure, transport links, jobs for employees' families, and the need to spread European Union institutions around Europe.

Each country could bid to host one or both agencies, but was only allowed one bid per agency.

Eleven other European cities are also candidates.

A political discussion in October will precede the private vote in November. The EBA has a staff of about 200 people and its visitors book 9,000 nights of hotel stays annually.

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