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Regions & Cities: The EU Agencies Race

EUobserver's 2017 Regions & Cities magazine takes a closer look at EU agencies and the benefits for cities and regions to host them. The UK leaving the EU has prompted a scramble for the European Medicines Agency and the European Banking Authority among most of the remaining member states. But what makes a city competitive? Which cities stand a good chance to become the new hosts? And what do EU agencies bring to the local economy?

Photo: roeaommiio

Photo: roeaommiio PERSONAL COMPLEXITIES The court case highlighted the personal complexities for moving an entire agency, which was recently evident when news emerged that 75 percent of the staff at the London-based European Medicines Agency (EMA) would not want to leave the British capital. The EMA and the other London-based agency slated for relocation, the European Banking Authority (EBA), employ 1,050 people who will need to move to the continent. Cepol only has 52 staff members from 19 different countries. Three of their staff members clearly indicated their opposition to moving with the agency to Budapest and stayed in the UK when it relocated, To prevent fallout, Failla said that Cepol designed a very detailed relocation plan ahead of time, which aimed for the minimum negative impact on staff. "It didn't come out of the blue," he said of the decision, noting that the preparations had begun in 2012. He added that while it is not unusual for civil servants to be asked to move from country to country, the fact that people's lives and families are involved has to be taken into account. "The most precious resource is the team, so make sure to have the least possible negative impact on them, the rest is logistics," he said, when asked what advice he would give to the other agencies facing relocation. "Everybody needs to have a soft exit and landing," he stated, saying that working on school arrangements and addressing diplomatic privileges with the host government are top priorities. Planning ahead is crucial and employees should try to approach the move positively, he argued. "The transition is traumatic, but it is also a novelty - it can bring new things, new experiences into one's life that could be life changing." Failla suggested that people try to get to know the local culture before they arrive. Cepol's new headquarter, for instance, is in the heart of Budapest, only a few From an institutional point of view, good infrastructure, logistics, a good connection to the airport, good all priorities. 34 — REGIONS & CITIES OCTOBER 2017

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