Following months of speculation over the EMA’s relocation from London, the European Commission announced Amsterdam as the winner on Monday 20th November.
The Dutch city’s success is perhaps not a major surprise, as it was already mooted to be the location favoured by a high percentage of the EMA’s existing workforce. Amsterdam’s bid was undoubtedly a strong one, which clearly set out how it would meet the technical requirements of the EMA and also how it would deliver the social and environmental infrastructures required to accommodate the agency’s estimated 900 staff and their families.
Three rounds of voting culminated in a tie (13 votes to 13 – there was one abstention), with the final two bids going into a draw from a large goldfish-style bowl at the final stage, which saw Milan missing out to Amsterdam.
Whilst this is undoubtedly a huge disappointment for the Italians, the outcome is likely to offer the path of least disruption in terms of maintaining the European Medicines Agency’s critical operations, which are vital in the approval and management of medicines across the European Union.
Still to be decided is the future working relationship between the EMA and the MHRA, the UK’s national regulatory body. The two agencies have worked closely and successfully together since 1995; however, with the UK’s pending exit from the EU, a new relationship must now be established.