UK's bid to keep 1,000 EU jobs is 'embarrassing', say Irish officials
Irish officials have dismissed as "baffling" and "embarrassing" an attempt by the British government to keep two of the EU's regulatory agencies in London.
The future locations of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Banking Authority (EBA) are up for grabs on the back of Brexit, but in an unexpected development the UK has indicated it will battle to keep the agencies.
A spokeswoman for the British Brexit department said: "No decisions have been taken about the location of the EBA or the EMA, these will be subject to the exit negotiations."
Ireland is engaged in the bidding for both, which have a combined staff of around 1,000.
Officials in Dublin told the Irish Independent there was no question of either body staying in London. An informed source said it was never envisaged that the EMA or EBA would be part of the Brexit negotiations with the UK.
"This is an embarrassing position for the British to take," said a source.
Most of the 27 EU members have expressed an interest in hosting both the EMA and EBA.
EU officials doubt final decisions can be made in the coming months but say leaders do want to allow time for new infrastructure in other cities before Britain leaves the EU.
Junior Finance Minister Eoghan Murphy told the Irish Independent: "It's always been my understanding that the EBA will have to remain in the EU, given that it's an EU institution.
"Ireland has already made a government decision to bid for its relocation and we've been working to that end over the past number of months."
Similarly a spokesperson for Health Minister Simon Harris said his department was actively working to win the EMA.
"It is the minister's firm belief that a move to Dublin would mean a seamless transition for the EMA, ensuring continued protection of EU citizens and providing reassurance to the industries which it regulates," the spokesperson said.