Wednesday 21 February 2018

Government begins plan to house EU bank watchdog

Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes insists that Dublin would be the perfect location for the EBA
Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes insists that Dublin would be the perfect location for the EBA
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

The Government has begun to formulate a plan to try and house the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in Ireland.

The EU agencies are based in London but are expected to leave on foot of Brexit. Other European countries have been quick to stake a claim - with Spain setting up a working group to try and attract both bodies within days of the Brexit vote.

A Government spokesman told the Sunday Independent: "Similar to other EU partners, the Government is beginning to look at these possibilities for Ireland" arising from a future UK departure from the EU.

"The question of the future location of these agencies will be addressed in due course during the EU/UK negotiations, which will take two years to complete.

"In general terms, the Taoiseach has said that he and the Government will seek to pursue Ireland's interests at every turn," the spokesman added.

No specific plan to house the EBA and EMA was in place as of the beginning of the month, the Irish Independent reported.

The EBA aims to "safeguard the integrity, efficiency and orderly functioning of the banking sector" across the EU, with around 160 employees in London.

Besides Spain, Paris and Frankfurt are also in the race, and last week Milan's mayor Giuseppe Sala flew to London to meet the heads of both the EBA and EMA.

Both bodies have Italians in top positions, with former Bank of Italy regulator Andrea Enria chairing the EBA and a one-time head of the Italian Medicines Agency, Guido Rasi, the executive director of the EMA.

Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes said Dublin would serve as an ideal location for the EBA, given that many of Europe's biggest banks conduct operations here.

"This is now up to the Government to convince European colleagues that Dublin is the most suitable new location for the authority," he said.

"Dublin shares the closest similarities to London in terms of language, business environment and financial services activity. This would make a move to Dublin much smoother than other capitals."

The agencies are sought-after not only for jobs but also for their potential to act as sectoral hubs.

(Additional reporting Reuters)

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