Thursday 13 May 2021

Italy appeals to Brussels about EMA move to Amsterdam: ANSA

The EMA site January 2018 Photo: S Boztas

Italy is asking the European Court of Justice and the European parliament to look at the way the decision was taken to move the European medicines agency to Amsterdam because of problems with the Dutch bid, Italian news agency ANSA said on Wednesday.

The agency quotes prime minister Paolo Gentiloni as saying that the chance of success is small but that ‘we have to have a go’.

Both Milan and Amsterdam were shortlisted to host the agency but Amsterdam won on the luck of the draw after a vote of EU member states ended in a tie last November.

The Italian government appeal states that ‘the reality of Amsterdam’s readiness to host the EMA does not correspond to what it said in its bid,’ ANSA said. The appeal document, the news agency said, is based on a single reason for appeal, that is, misleading the EU on how ready the Dutch city was to receive the agency.

Although the Dutch bid made it clear that the purpose-built EMA headquarters would not be ready in time for Brexit, on Monday there was a furious reaction from Italy when more details were made public about the move.

In particular, the decision to put the agency temporarily in a smaller building further away on another business park drew fire.


EMA director Guido Rasi admitted the temporary accommodation was a compromise.

‘It’s not optimal: we only have half of the space compared to our current premises,’ he said. ‘While we also have to use some external meeting facilities, we will at least be able to host our core scientific meeting in the temporary building.’

ANSA also says that the European Parliament’s environment committee has asked the Netherlands to allow it to inspect the ‘temporary and definitive’ EMA offices to see if they are fit for purpose.

Panel rapporteur Giovanni La Via told ANSA ‘I made the formal request today to the Dutch ambassador and we will organise an inspection in the coming days or weeks.’

The Dutch state has taken a 10-year lease on the Spark office complex in Sloterdijk where the EMA will have its temporary home. The Financieele Dagblad said on Tuesday it is unclear who will occupy the building for nine years once the EMA has moved to its own offices in the Zuidas business district.

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