Military spas, mountain spring water and wine used to lure the EBA after Brexit
Brussels — The EU’s top bank regulator is feeling the love. Eight cities in the bloc are competing to host the European Banking Authority (EBA) when it decamps from London as part of Brexit. Their come-hither pitches offer a variety of perks for the EBA’s 189 employees, from access to military spas in Prague to paintball in Warsaw.
The proposals also contain more predictable calling cards. Frankfurt, home to Deutsche Bank, touts its large financial-services industry; Brussels promises to unlock "countless synergies" with the EU institutions located there, including the European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm.
But some of the details in the proposals are somewhat less expected. To attract the EBA, run by Italian Andrea Enria, Prague touts its "significant Italian community" and bilingual schools for the kids. In addition to its vast musical heritage, Vienna chose to highlight the "highest-quality mountain spring water" that flows from its taps and the fact that it’s the "only major capital with a significant winegrowing industry".
Frankfurt is seen as the front runner to land the EBA. It’s already home to the European Central Bank, which oversees eurozone banks, and the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority, whose merger with the EBA has been discussed by policy makers. But the German city isn’t resting on its laurels, also playing up the "spas and health resorts, scenic walks, cycling tours and golf" that Enria and his staff could enjoy.
Paris, the other heavyweight contender, promised a "two-day discovery tour" of the Paris region "for all staff members and their families" in addition to the benefits that proximity to the country’s large financial sector would bring.
Dublin, a destination for some bankers leaving London, promoted itself as the English-speaking alternative, minimising "disruption for staff and families". Like Vienna, it emphasised the abundance of clean water at 81 beaches that have received the "prestigious Blue Flag for excellence in water quality". And it went one better, promising EBA staffers tired of London’s smog that Dublin’s air quality "feels fresh and compares very favourably to other EU capitals".
Warsaw, which could come into the reckoning if EU lawmakers decide to keep the EBA out of the eurozone, painted a compelling picture, including office space in a building with a "distinctive green colour" that sets it apart from its neighbours, as well as amenities in the city such as a "year-round ski slope" and "numerous horse stables".
In addition to its spas and resident Italians, Prague, another euro outsider, held out unlimited free access to a range of cultural attractions, including the Museum of the Police of the Czech Republic and the city’s zoo.
The bids to host the EBA and the European Medicines Agency, which is also set to quit London, will be evaluated by the European Commission by the end of September, and a decision will be made in November by the 27 countries that will remain in the bloc after Brexit.