European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk will discuss general principles for the relocation of the European Medicines Agency and the European Banking Authority with EU heads of states and governments at the Brexit summit on Saturday, two Council spokespeople said Thursday.
The spokespeople denied, however, that there would be a presentation of the formal criteria for the new hosts that day. They were seeking to clarify plans after remarks from EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis and a high-level diplomat in Brussels on Wednesday illustrated confusion about when the criteria would be made public.
Andriukaitis told the Spanish newswire EFE that the presidents of the European Commission and the European Council will discuss a “general proposal” on the relocation of the two agencies based in London.
The Commission has asked the Council to make a fast decision, given that, in the case of the EMA, people’s health is at stake, Andriukaitis said.
“The Commission will remain neutral and will not rank countries, unless the European Council asks us for an evaluation to assess what would be the most effective, sustainable and safe way to continue the current work of the agency,” he said.
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It will be important to see if the countries vying for the agency would be able to make up for the human resources that will be lost due to the relocation, he also noted.
The competition will be very tough, according to Andriukaitis. “There are three countries that have no European agency: Romania, Bulgaria, and Croatia,” he said.
EU leaders are expected on Saturday to agree on a calendar for the decisions regarding the agencies’ relocation, the high-level diplomat said on Wednesday, based on impressions from a gathering of so-called EU sherpas on Monday.
However, on Thursday, that prediction seemed in doubt, too.
This article was updated to reflect new comments from the Council spokespeople.