Amsterdam wins hat draw for relocation of EU medicines agency

By Danielle Haynes Follow @DanielleHaynes1 Contact the Author   |  Nov. 20, 2017 at 3:32 PM
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Nov. 20 (UPI) -- The European Union chose Monday to move its European Medicines Agency to Amsterdam and the European Banking Authority to Paris after Britain's decision last year to withdraw from the EU.

The EMA, created in 1995 to evaluate and regulate medicines for humans and animals, has until March 30, 2019, to move into its new headquarters from London's Canary Wharf.

"Amsterdam ticks many of our boxes," EMA Executive Director Guido Rasi said in a statement. "It offers excellent connectivity and a building that can be shaped according to our needs."

He said that internal surveys indicated "a large majority" of nearly 900 EMA staff would be willing to relocate to the Netherlands.

Nevertheless, "our activities will be impacted and we need to plan for this now to avoid the creation of gaps in knowledge and expertise," Rasi said.

The EU considered 18 other sites within the 27 member states. Britain's The Independent reported the EU vote, held in Brussels, was tied between choosing Amsterdam and Milan, Italy, as the location for the EMA.

The member states chose between the two cities by drawing a name out of a hat.

The relocation of the EMA likely will mean the opening of offices in Amsterdam for major pharmaceutical companies and lobbyists.

In another vote, Paris was chosen as the new location for the EBA, which carries out stress tests on European banks to determine weaknesses.

"This is an important decision for the authority that guarantees a seamless continuation of its activities by reassuring its current and future staff over the new location and putting an end to a period of uncertainty," the EBA said in a statement. "The EBA is confident that France will support the authority to ensure a smooth transition, which is crucial to continue delivering on its mission objectives of maintaining financial stability in the EU and safeguarding the integrity, efficiency and orderly functioning of the banking sector."

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