Frankfurt and Milan are in pole position to “steal” two key European agencies off London as Brexit looms ever larger.
The German finance hub is favourite to take the European Banking Authority, while the Italian city is tipped to win the race for the European Medicines Agency.
Both are currently based in Canary Wharf and employ about 1,000 people.
The cities bidding for the EMA are: Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Bonn, Bratislava, Brussels, Bucharest, Copenhagen, Dublin, Helsinki, Lille, Milan, Porto, Sofia, Stockholm, Valletta, Vienna, Warsaw and Zagreb.
Just eight cities want the banking authority: Brussels, Dublin, Frankfurt, Paris, Prague, Luxembourg City, Vienna and Warsaw.
Ministers from the 27 remaining EU countries will take part in the secret ballot to decide which city gets the spoils after Britain exits the bloc in March 2019.
A first ballot, due to start at about 1500 GMT at the meeting being held in Estonia, will see ministers rank their top three choices for the medicines agency.
Unless a majority makes the same first choice, a second vote among the best performing cities will follow, then a third-round runoff.
If the voting is still tied, the meeting chairman will then draw lots. The city that secures the EMA must then drop out of the running for the banking authority if it has pitched for both.
Bookmaker Ladbrokes has Milan, the Slovak capital Bratislava and Amsterdam as favourites for the EMA, with Frankfurt the best bet for the EBA.
However, insiders have warned of an unpredictable result, with officials telling Reuters the complicated voting process would be similar to that of the Eurovision Song Contest, meaning historical alliances could play big role.
The EMA makes decisions about the safety of new medicines before they reach Europe’s single market.
The EBA supervises banks throughout the European Union, including non-Eurozone members.
The future outside of London for the two agencies provides a stark example of the potential impact on the UK post-Brexit.
While it is “only” 1,000 jobs at this time, tens of thousands of positions in the financial sector, and similar numbers connected with other European bodies and functions are predicted to be at risk.