Saturday, 5 August 2017

Brexit Briefing - July 2017 - The Division of the Spoils

Jane Lambert

A bittersweet moment though, as with most things to do with Brexit, more bitter than sweet.

London is home to two important EU agencies, namely the European Medicines Agency and the European Banking Authority which we attracted to our capital in the face of stiff competition from the governments of other member states.  They employ a lot of local people, provide business for many local firms that employ a whole lot more and do some very useful work.

Because of HMG's determination to carry into effect the decision of a plurality of voters in last year's referendum, those institutions have to move. A decision on the procedure for relocation of EU agencies currently located in the UK was taken by the Council on the 22 June 2017. This is a four step process:
  • Offers to host the institutions had to be submitted by 31 July 2017;
  • The Commission will assess the offers and report on 30 Sept 2017;
  • There will be a debate in October and a vote in November.
Considering that it took 7 years to bring the EMA to London it is all very sad.

According to the Commission's press release of 1 Aug 2017, the following cities have offered to host the EMA:
  • Amsterdam (The Netherlands)
  • Athens (Greece)
  • Barcelona (Spain)
  • Bonn (Germany)
  • Bratislava (Slovakia)
  • Brussels (Belgium)
  • Bucharest (Romania)
  • Copenhagen (Denmark)
  • Dublin (Ireland)
  • Helsinki (Finland)
  • Lille (France)
  • Milan (Italy)
  • Porto (Portugal)
  • Sofia (Bulgaria)
  • Stockholm (Sweden)
  • Malta (Malta)
  • Vienna (Austria)
  • Warsaw (Poland)
  • Zagreb (Croatia).
Some 8 cities have offered to host the Banking Authority:
  • Brussels (Belgium)
  • Dublin (Ireland)
  • Frankfurt (Germany)
  • Paris (France)
  • Prague (Czech Republic)
  • Luxembourg-City (Luxembourg)
  • Vienna (Austria)
  • Warsaw (Poland).
Another institution that seems likely to move whether we can find a way to remain party to the Unified Patent Court Agreement or not is the Central Division of the Unified Patent Court even though it is all fitted out and ready for the first case (see Alan Johnson Relocation of London section of UPC central division after Brexit? 13 July 2017 Bristows UPC website). This is even more sad because no country stands to benefit more from the UPC than ours. I suppose the Lord Chancellor will find a new use for the Aldgate Tower suite if the UPC does have to move but it is a shame nevertheless. I had been looking forward to receiving a brief to appear before that court.

"So where's the sugar?" I hear you say. "You said that this was bittersweet."

Well, I guess there are two teaspoonfuls.  First, the launch of this Brexit blog which assembles all my previous writings and resources in one place.  Secondly, Helen Tse's book on Doing Business after Brexit to which I have contributed the chapter on intellectual property and data protection will appear on the 17 Aug 2017, Clarke Whitehill are holding a reception by Pro Manchester to launch the book on 20 Sept 2017.

If anyone wishes to discuss this briefing or Brexit in general, call me on +44 (0)20 7404 5252 during office hours or get in touch through my contact form.

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