The Government’s attempt to ensure the lucrative European banking watchdog is based in Ireland after Britain leaves the EU fell at the final hurdle last night in a bizarre Brussels system after a tied final round vote.
As part of the Brexit fallout, London-based EU agencies are being re-located to remaining member states.
It had been expected Frankfurt and Paris were the most likely to win the banking agency — which carries with it almost 200 high-paid jobs and hundreds of linked positions.
The expectation was based partially on the fact Ireland’s Dublin bid would see the EU’s financial watchdog based in the city most known for the economic crash.
In addition, it had been noted that the potential Dublin location for the EBA would have been the former planned Anglo Irish Bank site on the quays, and that both Frankfurt and Paris are already well regarded financial centres.
However, after an initial 32 (Paris), 32 (Frankfurt), and 28 (Dublin) vote, Ireland’s bid won the second round by 13 votes to 10 (Paris) and four (Frankfurt), resulting in a two-way face off with France for the prized agency.
After the final vote tied 13-13 it had been expected just before 7pm it had been expected that a fourth vote would be held, with MEP Brian Hayes telling RTÉ’s Six One News the next round was imminent.
However, moments later it emerged that in similar fashion to an earlier vote for the European Medicines Agency won by Amsterdam, the tied score would be settled by EU general affairs chair Matti Maasikas pulling one of two balls — France’s — out of a bowl to decide the winner.
Referencing last week’s rugby world cup bid failure, Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney last night said “losing to France is not easy to take” while European Affairs Minister Helen McEntee added: “It’s obviously difficult. We’ve lost out to the French, again.”