Sofia Lost the Race for the Seat of the European Labor Authority

Bulgaria in EU | June 13, 2019, Thursday // 11:51|  views

Sofia lost the race for the seat of the European Labor Authority. The new EU agency will be located in Bratislava, EUobserver reported. Slovakia received 15 out of 28 votes during the vote in the ministerial meeting of the Council on Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs.

The other contenders were Nicosia (Cyprus) and Riga (Latvia). The Central and Eastern European countries have long complained about the geographical distribution of EU agencies, many of which are located in Western Europe.

EurActiv notes that the interest in adopting the new agency was much weaker than that of the 19 countries that wanted to accept the European Medicines Agency. After the decision for Brexit, it had to leave London. Sofia was among the candidates, but Amsterdam was preferred.

According to the publication, Bulgaria seems to have made a lot of effort in completing its candidacy. It provided a detailed description of each criterion, including the time from the airport to the service, a requirement that Slovakia for example had missed. Sofia was ready to provide three buildings to be available before the start of the new European structure planned for January next year.

However, Bulgaria has the lowest wages in the EU. A diplomat, quoted by EurActiv, notes that this was a serious factor in connection with the recent relocation of the Medicines Agency.

The aim of the new body is to improve cross-border cooperation, contribute to ensuring fair mobility in the EU and foster the coordination of social security systems.

The criteria according to which the applications were evaluated are:

- geographical balance;
- timely availability of working premises to enable the Agency to become operational;
- accessibility of the site;
- availability of schools for children of agency staff;
- access to the labor market, social security and medical care for spouses and employees' children.