With ‘Eurovision’ vote, EU agencies to leave London

Updated 23 June 2017
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With ‘Eurovision’ vote, EU agencies to leave London

BRUSSELS: EU leaders will decide this autumn where to move EU banking and medicines agencies that they are pulling out of London due to Brexit, using a voting system some liken to the Eurovision song contest.
Most of the remaining 27 EU states have expressed interest in hosting the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which together employ more than 1,000 people.
They are keen not to let the historically divisive issue of hosting agencies break their unity over Brexit, although several officials joked about how the choice will be made after leaders agreed at a summit on Thursday it was the best way to stop rows.
“It is going to be an exciting race. We know how this works from Eurovision,” Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern joked, recalling his country’s recent triumph in the kitsch pan-European music festival, won in 2014 by a bearded drag queen from Vienna.
Governments have been arguing over how to choose new host cities, which can expect to profit from the move.
Under the agreed procedure, countries will have until the end of July to submit candidate cities. These will then be assessed by the executive European Commission by September.
Using those assessments, EU leaders will try to reach a consensus deal at their next summit in Brussels in October. In any event, ministers will then hold a vote the following month, giving states a number of votes to apportion to their favorites and proceeding through knockout rounds to a winner.
On Thursday, France and Germany dismissed a report by German magazine WirtschaftsWoche that the two biggest EU countries had agreed to divide the agencies between themselves, with the EBA going to Frankfurt and EMA to Lille.
Barcelona, Milan, Copenhagen and Dublin are among the states campaigning for EMA, which has an annual budget of $360 million.
Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam, Vienna, Lyon and Strasbourg are among the cities vying to host the EBA, whose 160 employees write and coordinate banking rules across the bloc.
Among criteria for selection are the city’s infrastructure, transport links, jobs for employees’ families and ensuring that EU institutions are spread around Europe. Newer, Eastern members say they do not have enough EU bodies and want this changed.


Dubai schools allowed to raise fees after last year’s freeze hit GEMS listing

Updated 56 min 9 sec ago
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Dubai schools allowed to raise fees after last year’s freeze hit GEMS listing

  • UAE authorities fixed the fees in hopes of stimulating the economy
  • The maximum increase for next year will be 2.07 percent for 90 percent of the schools

DUBAI: Dubai will allow a modest increase in school fees for the majority of students in the 2019-2020 academic year, the government said, after last year’s freeze triggered a delay in the London listing of a major school operator.
The move is likely to provide some reprieve for private investors such as private equity firms, who own most of the schools in the country, a Gulf Arab state that acts as a Middle East hub for international companies.
Last year’s move to freeze Dubai school had hit the initial public offering of Blackstone-backed, Middle East-focused education company GEMS, Reuters had reported, citing sources. The London listing was delayed after authorities in Dubai unexpectedly decided to freeze tuition fees, meaning the company’s financial forecasts had to be adjusted, they said.
Dubai’s move last year to freeze school fees came amid a number of other measures to cut costs in a bid to stimulate the economy that has been hurt by a downturn in property prices.
The Dubai government said it will allow an increase in school fees for 90 percent of students by a maximum 2.07 percent from the 2019-2020 academic year.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, the crown prince and son of Dubai’s ruler, approved the new framework where the Dubai School Inspection Bureau will assess the quality of education in each school against its index and rank them accordingly.
Schools in which the quality of education is declining according to the government’s index will not be allowed to increase their fees.
Only 10 percent of the students in Dubai will have their fees increased by more than 2.07 percent, it said.