16/04/2017 15:27 BST | Updated 18/04/2017 10:30 BST

Britain Set To Lose EU Banking And Medicine Agencies 'Within Weeks'

They employ 1,000 people and create huge demand for services.

EU diplomats are plotting to issue a crushing blow to Theresa May’sBrexit strategy by withdrawing flagship agencies from Britain ‘within weeks’, it has been reported.

Officials at a meeting held last Tuesday agreed an uncompromising position over the future of the EU’s banking and medicine regulators - which employ about 1,000 people in London.

The Observer reported that a ‘beauty contest’ between remaining member states will begin within two weeks, as diplomats reject the Prime Minister’s calls for early trade negotiations.

The European Banking Authority and the European Medical Agency (EMA) not only employ hundreds of staff, many of them British, in the capital - but also create huge demand for goods and services.

The EMA on its own attracts over 40,000 visitors each year to its offices - creating demand for 350 hotel rooms every night, five days a week, the agency’s Executive Director Guido Rasi said last year.

All of that business will be lost to another major European city - with Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam all reportedly vying for the prestigious institutions.

It is hoped the agencies will know their new locations by June.

It comes as May’s desire for simultaneous trade and withdrawal talks look set to be ignored by EU member states.

“No one questioned the phased approach,” a senior EU source told the paper.