Germany, France Vie For London-Based Regulator

Nächtliches Frankfurt
Goodbye London, hello Frankfurt? Picture source: Reuters

France wants to stop any post-Brexit move from London to Frankfurt by the main European banking regulator.

“Paris is a candidate for the location of the European Banking Authority (EBA),” a spokeswoman for the French finance minister Michel Sapin told Handelsblatt. It was clear, she added, that Paris and Frankfurt were in competition with regard to institutional location, along with other European financial centers.

The spokeswoman was reacting to a demand by German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble that the EBA be relocated to Frankfurt and merged with the EU’s insurance regulator EIOPA. The EIOPA, or European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority, is already based in the German city.

In a working paper prepared for Germany’s cabinet committee on Brexit, which is due to meet on Wednesday, Mr. Schäuble pushes for Frankfurt. Handelsblatt has obtained a copy of the paper.

“One of Frankfurt’s crucial and unique selling points is the proximity of the other actors in European financial regulation,” says the paper. It goes on to claim that Frankfurt has “interesting, centrally-located real estate,” at rents that are “very reasonable” by European standards.The city also has an available community of industry experts.

The report also points to weakness in rival cities’ claims: the significance of Paris as a financial center was in decline, it said, while the Irish capital Dublin was too remote and difficult to access.

“One of Frankfurt’s crucial and unique selling points is the proximity of the other actors in European financial regulation.”

Brexit working paper, German government

The representatives of the 27 European Union heads of government met Tuesday in Brussels for consultations on Brexit. All participants agreed that the future location of the two EU bodies currently based in London must be quickly decided, sources close to the meeting told Handelsblatt. By the end of April, the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, will give  member states a “precise procedure” for decision, “including selection criteria.” The topic is very likely to be discussed at the EU’s special Brexit summit on 29 April, EU diplomats told Handelsblatt.

Since Britain submitted its formal application to withdraw from the European Union late last month, it has become clear that the EU banking regulator EBA and the European Medicines Agency, also based in the British capital, will have to move. All told, the two institutions employ around 1,050 staff.

Read a full analysis in Handelsblatt Global.


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