Both the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Banking Authority (EBA) have their bases in London and the EU’s draft plan for Brexit negotiations that were drawn up last month said arrangements should be made to transfer them to a state staying in the EU.
EU officials said European Council President Donald Tusk, who chairs summits of the 27 other EU leaders who will decide where to put the agencies, aimed to set out some procedures for making the choices by the time they meet next on April 29.
However, British officials have moved to defy the will of the EU with a spokeswoman for the Department of Exiting the EU saying: "No decisions have been taken about the location of the European Banking Authority or the European Medicines Agency — these will be subject to the exit negotiations.
Prime Minister Theresa May (L) and Donald Tusk
"As part of these negotiations the Government will discuss with the EU and Member States how best to continue co-operation in the fields of banking and medicines regulation in the best interests of both the UK and the EU. It would not be appropriate to prejudge the outcome of the negotiations.
“We have made clear we want to have reached an agreement about our future partnership by the time the two-year Article 50 process has concluded before a phased process of implementation. By working together with our European neighbours we're confident we will be able to secure a deal that works in the mutual interests of both the UK and the rest of the European Union."
It would appear that the UK will take a firm line with the EU over the agencies with one government official telling Express.co.uk that they were not going anywhere yet.
In pictures: Theresa May meets with EU's Tusk Thu, April 6, 2017
The two leaders held talks on Brexit negotiations
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European Council President Donald Tusk gestures to members of the media as he leaves 10 Downing street after talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May in central London
EU officials though have stated that there is no question of Britain retaining either the EMA or the EBA, saying that only member states could incorporate them.
One said: "The agencies are lost. You cannot have your cake and eat it."
Previously Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, said that the UK had no say in where the agencies would move to: "The future location of the seats of EU agencies and facilities located in the United Kingdom is a matter for the 27 member states."
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He added: "Arrangements should be found to facilitate their transfer."
The EU's Donald Tusk visited Theresa May in London
An EU official said on Monday, Tusk would propose procedures and criteria for making the decision on location this month. Leaders of the 27 meet in Brussels a week on Saturday to finalise their opening negotiating positions.
Most of the 27 have expressed an interest in hosting both the EMA and EBA, in particular Dublin, Frankfurt, Milan, Amsterdam, Paris and Stockholm as the agencies are considered within the EU as the ‘crown jewels’ of the bloc’s agencies.
Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to take a tough line with the EU over the agencies
EU officials doubt final decisions can be made in the coming months but say leaders do want to ease uncertainty for existing staff and allow time for recruitment and new infrastructure in other cities before Britain leaves the Union in March 2019.
The EMA, which approves and monitors the safety of drugs across Europe, employs nearly 900 staff, while the EBA, which coordinates EU banking rules, has 160 staff.