In view of the decision taken by the Member States, on the margins of the General Affairs Council of 20 November 2017, to move the headquarters of the European Medicines Agency to Amsterdam (Netherlands), increasing pressure on the Council`s cow trade on the seats of EU agencies The move to Amsterdam is a consequence of the UK`s planned withdrawal from the European Union. In June 2018, the EMA and the Netherlands signed the Siege Agreement, which is comparable to other EU agencies, such as Europol, and ensures that the EMA can function properly and independently in the Netherlands. After Brexit, Britain will become a `third country`. This means that the UK will no longer be able, under the centralised procedure, to engage as (co) rapporteur for further EU authorisation requests, unless the Brexit negotiations lead to another settlement. About 60% of the current staff have already been transferred to the Netherlands. The majority employees who have teleworked from London are expected to move to Amsterdam after the summer. The Brexit vote itself was an opportunity to introduce greater good governance into the process. As a result of the UK`s decision, new seats had to be chosen for the EBA and the EMA. In 2017, the European Council has drawn up an ad hoc procedure for the selection of these seats. The offers of the various Member States were subject to public review and evaluation by the Commission (but were not evaluated), which led the Council to carry out successive consultations to determine the new seat. The European Council has indicated that this procedure will not set a precedent for future decisions, but, as Carlo Tovo pointed out in a previous TARN blog, «shows the willingness of Member States to implement the principles set out in the 2012 joint approach and to withdraw the decision on the headquarters of the agencies from the traditional intergovernmental consensus, […] I hope he will set the standard for future cases. The decision on the location of the European Labour Authority, the last EU agency, shows that the relocation of the EBA and the EMA has indeed set a standard. Between four nominations, the Council selected Bratislava as the seat of the ELA in June 2019, following a procedure identical to that applicable to the EBA and EMA seats.
2 This agreement no longer enters into force by mutual agreement between the contracting parties or if the Agency`s headquarters in Amsterdam is not confirmed following the ongoing legislative procedure to amend Regulation (EC) No. 1099/2009. Regulation (EC) No. 726/2004 or, finally, removed from the territory of the host state or when the Agency is dissolved, with the exception of the provisions applicable to the orderly cessation of the Agency`s activities at its headquarters in the host state and the decision on its ownership in the host state, as well as the provisions granting immunity from any form of judicial proceedings with respect to words or acts pronounced or written or any act performed in official capacity under this agreement. The Netherlands and the EMA are pleased to have concluded negotiations on this agreement earlier than planned. The decision taken in 2004 by the representatives of the Member States, which met at the level of heads of state and government, «to give priority to the member states, once they have joined the Union, in the allocation of the seats of other offices or agencies to be set up in the future», also shows that the headquarters of a new agency was not chosen within the framework of the proper functioning of the Agency itself, but that it was primarily a matter of political considerations. The main idea therefore seemed that each EU member state should have an EU agency rather than allowing each EU agency to carry out its tasks properly.