The EU is set to inflict a double humiliation on Theresa May, stripping Britain of its European agencies within weeks, while formally rejecting the prime minister’s calls for early trade talks.
The Observer has learned that EU diplomats agreed their uncompromising position at a crunch meeting on Tuesday, held to set out the union’s strategy in the talks due to start next month.
A beauty contest between member states who want the European banking and medicine agencies, currently located in London, will begin within two weeks, with selection criteria to be unveiled by the president of the European council, Donald Tusk.
The European Banking Authority and the European Medicines Agency employ about 1,000 people, many of them British, and provide a hub for businesses in the UK. It is understood that the EU’s chief negotiator hopes the agencies will know their new locations by June, although the process may take longer. Cities such as Frankfurt, Milan, Amsterdam and Paris are competing to take the agencies, which are regarded as among the EU’s crown jewels. Read on and comment » | Daniel Boffey | Saturday, April 15, 2017