Late yesterday afternoon the General Affairs Council of the European Union decided that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will relocate to Amsterdam when it leaves London in 2019.
The vote had to be determined by drawing the name of the new city out of a hat at random, after a tie between Amsterdam and Milan in the official vote on where to move it.
Sources familiar with the meeting told the Reuters news agency that Milan was two votes short of outright victory in a second round of voting, with 12 votes – ahead of 9 for Amsterdam and 5 for Copenhagen.
After Copenhagen was knocked out, its votes mostly went to Amsterdam, producing a 13-13 tie, however. Under the rules of the selection process, the Estonian minister chairing the meeting stepped in and drew lots to decide the winner.
‘This is good news for all patients across Europe. In Amsterdam the EMA will be able to continue its important work without interruption after Brexit. The Agency can continue to grant access to new, innovative medicines without delay and will still be able to respond quickly and effectively in the event of problems with a given drug. Both aspects of the EMA’s role are crucial for all patients in Europe, and we are delighted that the EU made its choice on that basis. I want to thank everyone who contributed to this fine achievement. Now, the real work begins. Amsterdam and the Netherlands as a whole are fully committed to ensuring the EMA’s relocation runs smoothly. We are ready to get started and we will make sure that the EMA’s important work is not disrupted,” said the Minister for Healthcare in the Netherlands, Bruno Bruins.
Jonas Ekstrand, CEO of SwedenBIO was of course disappointed when he heard the news that Stockholm will not host the Agency’s headquarters, but he is convinced that Amsterdam will be a good location.
“I would also like to encourage the Swedish government to take this opportunity to assist the Medical Product Agency’s Director General in building upon the excellence that is already there. Why not take a Nordic perspective on the regulatory side and in that way contribute to a strong Nordic life science region?”