Posted 01 August 2017
By Zachary Brennan
The European Commission on Tuesday said it will assess the 19 offers from EU cities to host the European Medicines Agency's (EMA) headquarters as it moves from London's Canary Wharf following Britain's decision to leave the EU.
The Commission's assessment will be published online 30 September 2017, then the European Council will have a political discussion based on the assessment at the General Affairs Council (Article 50 format) in October 2017. The vote will consist of successive rounds as needed, with the votes cast by secret ballot and each of the 27 member states having the same number of votes.
A final decision will be taken at the General Affairs Council and announced 20 November 2017. The cities that have applied to host the EMA as of 1 August 2017 are:
- Athens, Greece
- Barcelona, Spain
- Bonn, Germany
- Bratislava, Slovakia
- Bucharest, Romania
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Lille, France
- Porto, Portugal
- Sofia, Bulgaria
- Warsaw, Poland
- Zagreb, Croatia
The Commission's assessment will be based on six criteria agreed to by the 27 member states, including operationality guarantees (the availability of appropriate offices), location accessibility (which includes the frequency and duration of flight connections), schools for EMA staffers' children (including the availability of multi-lingual schools), access to the labor market and health care for staffers' families, business continuity (to maintain and attract highly qualified staff) and geographical spread.
All the applications discussed the strengths of their various locations, highlighting their proximity to airports, hotels and other major European cities, rapid relocation proposals and varieties of international schools and job opportunities for families. Many of the applications also include statements and comments from the countries' various presidents and prime ministers, including France's Emmanuel Macron, Denmark's Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Sweden's Stefan Löfven and Spain's Mariano Rajoy Brey.
In addition to the release of the applications, EMA said Tuesday that it will temporarily suspend several activities as part of its business continuity plan. Those activities include the development of the European Medicines Web Portal, a new publicly-available online information source on all medicines marketed in the EU; EMA’s contribution to the e-submission project that will allow applicants to electronically submit documents linked to authorization requests for human and veterinary medicines in a secure and efficient way; the development of a transparency roadmap; and participation in the benchmarking of medicines regulatory authorities in the EU as of 2018.
EMA on Brexit
Procedure leading up to a decision on the relocation of the European Medicines Agency and the European Banking Authority in the context of the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the Union