Wednesday 06 July 2022

Amsterdam a favourite among EMA staff, but the ‘offer has weaknesses’

Workers at the European Medicines Agency in London would be happiest with a move to Amsterdam, Barcelona or Vienna when the organisation leaves post Brexit Britain, according to new agency Reuters.

A survey of agency staff shows that up to 70% would leave if the EMA goes to an unpopular choice among the 19 cities competing to host the organisation. The survey was published without naming the cities but according to Reuters, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Vienna top the list, followed by Milan and Copenhagen.

The decision on where to place the agency will be discussed at this month’s EU summit and finalised in November.

The EMA warned that only the five of the 19 candidate cities would allow it to maintain key functions and that even then it will take three years to recover from the disruption.

However, it has also emerged that a weakness of the Dutch bid is the need to house most of its operations in temporary offices while a purpose-built building in Amsterdam’s Zuidas business district is completed.

According to the Financieele Dagblad, the European Commission says that ‘moving to a temporary address may be less desirable for accommodating the EMA than a move to a permanent address’. has been unable to verify this statement.


The Commission assessment does state the Dutch offer does not contain enough information about security considerations and IT services as well as about daycare and schooling for staff children.

The Netherlands already hosts two European institutions – Europol and Eurojust.

The Dutch government has offered an €18m sweetener and a full relocation package for the agency’s 900 staff as well as a purpose-built office complex as part of its efforts to attract the the EMA.

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