Health

In agencies’ relocation, EU’s East-West divisions laid bare

The choice of Amsterdam and Paris as the new homes for two EU agencies leaving London fueled criticism in Central and Eastern Europe that newer members of the bloc are treated like second-class citizens.

The kerfuffle over Monday’s votes to pick new locations for the European Medicines Agency and the European Banking Authority — both uprooting from the British capital due to Brexit — was the latest sign of an East-West split, also laid bare by issues such as migration policy, rule of law and even the quality of ingredients used by international food brands.

Slovakia’s leadership is the most openly upset about Monday’s votes. Bratislava was considered a leading candidate to host the EMA, but did not make it past the first round of voting, with Amsterdam winning out in the end.

“We do not hide disappointment over the fact that our bid did not succeed despite an excellent offer,” said Peter Susko, spokesman for Slovakia’s foreign ministry.

“The citizens of the newer member states expected an opportunity to prove their readiness to host such an important agency as the EMA,” he said, adding that the chance to make a decision based on geographical balance had “fallen through the floor.”

Bratislava was not the only city from among the EU’s newer, ex-communist members hoping for a Brexit bonus from the agencies moving out of London.

For many politicians in Central and Eastern Europe, the failure to bag even one of the agencies was symptomatic of a wider problem.

Bucharest, Warsaw, Sofia and Zagreb all mounted bids to host the EMA. The Croatian capital withdrew hours before the voting, complaining the selection procedure did not take into account all the agreed criteria but “arbitrary findings of the EMA.”

Prague and Warsaw vied to host the banking authority, which went to Paris.

Fears that the process could exacerbate East-West tensions were manifest in the run-up to the vote. Rumors swirled of a deal brokered by Germany to make sure the spoils were shared — Frankfurt would get the banking body while Bratislava would get the medicines agency. But an EU diplomat said before the vote that such a deal existed “only in journalists’ minds.”

‘Strategic mistake’

For many politicians in Central and Eastern Europe, the failure to bag even one of the agencies was symptomatic of a wider problem.

“This decision may rather reflect the existing difficult relationships and weakened trust between the EU’s old members and some Central European new member states as they seem to perceive the current and future EU in different ways,” said Petr Ježek, a Czech MEP from the ANO party of billionaire Andrej Babiš that won the country’s recent general election.

Some governments are already suggesting the outcome of the selection process bodes ill for Central and Eastern Europe’s role in upcoming discussions on the EU’s post-Brexit future.

“The big lesson from today’s vote is that everything multiple western European member-states and institution leaders say about geographical balance exists in words only,” Szabolcs Takács, state secretary for EU affairs in Hungarian Prime Viktor Orbán’s office, told state news agency MTI late Monday.

Central and Eastern Europe was “ignored by many western European member states,” Takács said, adding that “it’s not a good message, when we need to make very serious decisions about the EU’s future.”

Polish MEP Ryszard Czarnecki, a member of the governing Law and Justice party, said the decision on the medicines and banking agencies was reminiscent of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, in which “some animals are more equal than others.”

“Those decisions can in practice increase distrust between EU countries,” he said. “Two-speed Europe already exists. The decision to choose Amsterdam and Paris will increase Euroskepticism in Central and Eastern Europe. I think that is very short-sighted, and a strategic mistake.”

Central and Eastern European countries did not exercise solidarity by voting only for each other.

The Polish government apparently sought to put a brave face on failing to land either agency. The government chose the day after the vote to officially open the new Warsaw headquarters of the EU’s Frontex border security agency, which has already been operational for some time. The visit sent the message that Poland had already secured one EU body, even if it had missed out this time.

“I am very happy that the Frontex agency will develop here in Warsaw. I hope that this day will go down in history and that it gives us good perspective for future and for the safety of Europe,” Prime Minister Beata Szydło declared at the opening ceremony.

Lack of solidarity

The failure of any of the EU’s newer members to land either the EBA or EMA — along with economic boost they would have brought — was, however, a more complex story than a simple East-West split. Central and Eastern European countries did not exercise solidarity by voting only for each other, a national diplomat from the region noted in Brussels.

Bratislava, for example, obtained 15 votes in the first round of voting for the EMA — which means many of its fellow easterners, who each had six points to distribute among three cities, did not offer much support.

From left: Brussels, Amsterdam, Vienna and Copenhagen were among the candidates to host the EMA | Source images via Getty Images

Goodies offered by Western European countries to their eastern neighbors may have been one reason the voting did not spile along neat geographical lines. Romania, itself in the running for the EMA in the first round, voted for Milan, Italian EU Affairs Minister Sandro Gozi revealed on Monday.

In exchange, Italy promised to support Romania getting a future EU body, such as the European Labour Agency, according to one diplomat with knowledge of the talks. The agency does not exist yet but was proposed by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in his State of the Union address in September.

Italy also promised to back Romania joining the borderless Schengen zone, said the same person, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Romania has not been able to join Schengen for years due to opposition from countries like the Netherlands and France, even though the Commission has said it complies with the technical criteria to become a member.

Carmen Paun, Jacopo Barigazzi, Michał Broniatowski and Joanna Plucinska contributed reporting.

Related Articles

356 Comments

  1. Pretty portion of content. I just stumbled upon your website and in accession capital to say that I acquire actually enjoyed account your weblog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feeds and even I achievement you get entry to persistently rapidly.|

  2. After going over a handful of the blog articles on your web site, I seriously like your way of writing a blog. I book-marked it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back in the near future. Take a look at my website too and tell me your opinion.|

  3. Just desire to say your article is as amazing. The clarity in your post is just great and i could assume you are an expert on this subject. Well with your permission let me to grab your RSS feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the gratifying work.|

  4. I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your sites really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back in the future. All the best|

  5. Appreciating the time and energy you put into your site and in depth information you present. It’s great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same outdated rehashed information. Wonderful read! I’ve saved your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.|

  6. I’ve been exploring for a little bit for any high-quality articles or blog posts on this sort of house . Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this website. Studying this information So i’m happy to exhibit that I’ve a very just right uncanny feeling I found out exactly what I needed. I most undoubtedly will make certain to don?t disregard this website and give it a look on a relentless basis.|

  7. My programmer is trying to convince me to move to .net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses. But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using Movable-type on a number of websites for about a year and am anxious about switching to another platform. I have heard very good things about blogengine.net. Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress posts into it? Any kind of help would be really appreciated!|

  8. Nice weblog right here! Additionally your website quite a bit up fast! What host are you the usage of? Can I get your affiliate link for your host? I desire my site loaded up as fast as yours lol|

  9. My spouse and I stumbled over here from a different page and thought I may as well check things out. I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look forward to finding out about your web page yet again.|

  10. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was curious what all is needed to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very web savvy so I’m not 100 positive. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks|

  11. My partner and I stumbled over here by a different web page and thought I should check things out. I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look forward to looking into your web page for a second time.|

  12. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I do not know who you are but definitely you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!|

  13. Hello I am so delighted I found your site, I really found you by error, while I was searching on Yahoo for something else, Regardless I am here now and would just like to say many thanks for a remarkable post and a all round exciting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to go through it all at the moment but I have book-marked it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a great deal more, Please do keep up the awesome jo.|

  14. Does your website have a contact page? I’m having a tough time locating it but, I’d like to shoot you an email. I’ve got some ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great site and I look forward to seeing it expand over time.|

  15. My developer is trying to persuade me to move to .net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses. But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using Movable-type on several websites for about a year and am worried about switching to another platform. I have heard great things about blogengine.net. Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress posts into it? Any kind of help would be greatly appreciated!|

  16. Howdy! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice from an established blog. Is it hard to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking about setting up my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any tips or suggestions? Many thanks|

  17. After I initially commented I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on each time a comment is added I recieve 4 emails with the exact same comment. Is there an easy method you can remove me from that service? Cheers!|

  18. Pingback: bahis siteleri
  19. It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I’ve read this submit and if I could I wish to suggest you some attention-grabbing issues or advice. Perhaps you could write subsequent articles regarding this article. I desire to read even more things about it!|

  20. Nice blog here! Also your site a lot up fast! What host are you the use of? Can I am getting your associate link in your host? I desire my web site loaded up as quickly as yours lol|

  21. I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you make this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz respond as I’m looking to construct my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from. many thanks|

  22. Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Spending some time and actual effort to produce a good article… but what can I say… I put things off a whole lot and never seem to get anything done.|

  23. Fantastic beat ! I wish to apprentice even as you amend your website, how can i subscribe for a weblog website? The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered vibrant transparent concept|

  24. Admiring the hard work you put into your website and detailed information you provide. It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same unwanted rehashed information. Excellent read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.|

  25. Heya just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the images aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different browsers and both show the same outcome.|

  26. Pingback: 3journal
  27. Hello there! Quick question that’s entirely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My blog looks weird when viewing from my iphone4. I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to fix this issue. If you have any suggestions, please share. Cheers!|

  28. Hi there! I realize this is somewhat off-topic but I needed to ask. Does managing a well-established blog such as yours take a lot of work? I am brand new to writing a blog but I do write in my journal every day. I’d like to start a blog so I will be able to share my own experience and views online. Please let me know if you have any recommendations or tips for new aspiring blog owners. Appreciate it!|

  29. Hey! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could get a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having difficulty finding one? Thanks a lot!|

  30. I was more than happy to discover this site. I need to to thank you for ones time just for this fantastic read!! I definitely appreciated every part of it and I have you bookmarked to see new information in your website.|

  31. This design is incredible! You obviously know how to keep a reader amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Excellent job. I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!|

  32. Its like you learn my thoughts! You seem to grasp so much approximately this, like you wrote the guide in it or something. I believe that you simply could do with some p.c. to pressure the message house a bit, but other than that, this is excellent blog. A great read. I’ll certainly be back.|

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button