Race to host EU anti-money laundering agency intensifies
After a series of banking scandals, the European Union wants to tighten the rules against dirty money. But first it will have to decide where to house the 400 or so people responsible for enforcing those rules and the 10,000 square meters of office space they will need.
The call for applications closed last Friday, and the nine candidate cities are Paris, Frankfurt, Rome, Madrid, Brussels, Vienna, Vienna, Riga, Vilnius and Dublin.
Germany and France: the battle for supremacy
In this battle for the right to host AMLA, two cities, Germany and France, stand out as the most likely winners.
Germany, the EU's leading economic power, is arguing for a practical approach to AMLA. It argues that the new agency should be located in Frankfurt so that it can operate effectively from day one.
"The AMLA should be located in the banking center," German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said in a speech in Brussels on Thursday. The liberal noted that the European Central Bank is already located in this city. "No city can better facilitate such cooperation."
France, for its part, is nominating Paris. The city is one of Europe's largest financial centers and is already home to several other European agencies, including the European Banking Supervision Commission and the European Investment Bank.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Paris "has all the necessary resources and skills to host the AMLA."
Small cities vs. big cities
In addition to the battle between Germany and France, there are other cities in the competition that are trying to gain attention.
Some of these cities, such as Riga and Vilnius, are relatively new members of the EU and are seeking the right to host an AMLA as a sign of recognition of their growing importance in the union.
Others, such as Vienna and Madrid, are larger and more established cities that are trying to increase their attractiveness to international organizations.
Factors influencing the choice
Various factors will be considered in the process of selecting a city to host AMLA, including:
- Geopolitical factor: AMLA will play an important role in combating money laundering, which is a global problem. Therefore, choosing a city with good geopolitical ties can be an important factor.
- Economic Factor: AMLA will create jobs and contribute to the economic development of the city where it will be located. Therefore, choosing a city with a strong economy can be beneficial to both parties.
- Security Factor: AMLA will be storing sensitive information, so choosing a city with a good security system may be an important factor.
The final decision on the location of AMLA will be made jointly by the Council, which brings together the EU member states, and the European Parliament.
The voting process is likely to be complex and tense, as each member state will seek to promote its city's candidacy.
A decision is expected within a few months.