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29th Feb 2020

Agencies allocated after two years of talks

EU leaders today (13 December) agreed to the locations of ten EU agencies, after much political wrangling.

After two years of debate Italy has beaten Finland in the competition to host the Food Safety Agency. Finland will instead get a new agency to evaluate chemicals.

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EU leaders failed to reach agreement on agencies, due to opposition by Italy and France, at the Laeken summit two years ago.

Italy then rejected the list of locations proposed by the Belgian government because Parma was not going to get to host the European Food Authority.

The Italian Prime Minister believed that due to the well known Parma ham, his city should get the assignment.

The agency is now set to be based in Parma.

However, it was not just the Finns and Italians fighting their corner, Spain took advantage of its hard line position in talks on the constitution to wring concessions, saying that the Food Agency should go to it.

In the end, it was agreed that Spain will host a new fisheries centre.

Sweden, who aside from Finland was the only current EU member state not to have an agency, will get the European Centre for Disease Control.

The deal comes ahead of next May’s enlargement which would have expanded the number of countries fighting for the agencies from 15 to 25.

The location of ten seats of offices and agencies was agreed as follows, according to the presidency conclusions from the Brussels European Council:

1- The European Police College (CEPOL) shall have its seat in London.

2- The European Food Safety Authority shall have its seat in Parma.

3- Eurojust shall have its seat in the Hague.

4- The European Maritime Safety Agency shall have its seat in Lisbon.

5- The European Aviation Safety Agency shall have its seat in Köln.

6- The European Railway Agency shall have its seat in Lille/Valenciennes.

7- The European Network and Information Security Agency shall have its seat in a town in Greece to be determined by the Greek Government.

8- The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control shall have its seat in a town in Sweden to be determined by the Swedish Government.

9- The European Chemicals Agency shall have its seat in Helsinki.

The European leaders also welcomed the Commission’s intention to submit,

before the end of March 2004, a proposal on the establishment of a Community Fisheries Control Agency, and agreed that this Agency shall have its seat in Spain.

The trade-offs behind the scene at Laeken

Unofficial minutes leaked from the Laeken summit show how the negotiations between the 15 followed the old European path of horse-trading. Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi wanted to exchange the EU arrest warrant against the seat for the European Food Authority, while French president Jacques Chirac proposed that “Sweden gets the seat for a European model agency,” as they have beautiful girls. EUobserver has read the minutes. Click to see backstage details from the Laeken summit.

Finns feel hard done by on EU agency

Finland's food industry is irked after it emerged over the weekend that Finland is to get the EU's chemical agency and not the food agency as it had battled for.

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