Posted 26 October 2016
By Zachary Brennan
Ireland’s Minister for Health Simon Harris has confirmed that Ireland will formally bid to host the European Medicines Agency (EMA) headquarters in the aftermath of Brexit.
The interest from Ireland comes as the agency said in July that it will not be the one deciding where to move its more than 800 employees from the London headquarters, where it’s been based since 1995, as it will be decided by common agreement among member state representatives.
A number of other member states have been lobbying for the new headquarters, among them Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Italy and Germany.
The Irish government has expressed concern about the uncertainty created around the future of EMA and believes that, once Article 50 has been triggered (indicating the UK’s withdrawal from the EU is approaching), an early decision on a new location for the EMA would be helpful in making the transition as smooth as possible.
Harris added, “The Irish government believes that Dublin would be a very suitable location and that a move to the Irish capital would minimize the disruption to the business of the EMA, thus ensuring continued protection of EU citizens and providing reassurance to the industries which it regulates.”
In addition to highlighting Dublin’s strengths, Harris also noted that Dublin is an English-speaking location and that English is the working language of the EMA and the pharmaceutical industry.
Ireland’s cabinet decision on Wednesday confirms that there will be a whole-of-government approach to promoting the relocation of the EMA to Ireland, the Department of Health said in a statement.
An interdepartmental/interagency group says it will develop a detailed proposal by early 2017 and the government will work to promote the selection of Dublin as the new location for the EMA, in discussion with the EU Commission and other Member States.