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Croatia joins 20 countries in fight to host European Medicines Agency

Staff Writer |
European leaders are set to tussle over the future of EU agencies located in London in the first test of the bloc’s post-Brexit unity.

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At a summit in Brussels on Thursday the EU’s 27 leaders minus Theresa May are expected to take the next crucial step in moving two EU agencies out of the British capital, The Guardian reports.

The EU is insisting the European Medicines Agency and the European Banking Authority, both located in Canary Wharf, find new homes after Brexit.

At least 21 countries are thought to have made a bid for the medicines agency, with a smaller number throwing their hat into the ring to host the banking authority, which started its financial supervision work in 2011 after the crash.

A decision on location is expected in October, but an early hint of tension came on Tuesday when European affairs ministers failed to agree on a voting system to select the new host cities.

EU countries have split over what is described in Brussels as “Eurovision song contest rules” – an elaborate three-round voting mechanism to choose the host cities, which may be more complex than picking a catchy tune in the kitschy singing competition.

This system, proposed by the European council president, Donald Tusk, and European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, would see the agencies chosen by majority vote.

But some countries in central and eastern Europe are insisting the decision should be unanimous.

Some newer member states fear the EU is reneging on a 2003 promise that they should get priority in the distribution of new agencies. Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Cyprus and Slovakia do not have an EU agency.

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