Just one construction company – Dura Vermeer – is in the running to build the new headquarters for the European Medicines Agency because a second contractor has pulled out citing time issues, the Parool reported on Friday afternoon.
The other candidate, Zublin, part of the giant Strabag construction group, pulled out on February 3, the paper said. This was because the deadline of November 15 2019 for completion is too tight and that it could not accept some of the contract conditions – a fine for missing the deadline.
But this fact was not communicated to a group of European parliamentarians in Amsterdam on February 23 to assess the practicalities of the Dutch bid, the paper said.
The Netherlands won the right to host the agency when it leaves London after Brexit next year in a close run competition with Milan, eventually settled by drawing lots.
But Italian MPs, buoyed by the pending Italian national elections, have been quick to make political capital out of the fact that the Dutch office for the EMA won’t be completed until November next year and that the organisation will first have to move to temporary accommodation.
‘We spent two hours with the minister and others and asked about the tender process. We were told that two companies were in the race and there was no problem with the deadline,’ Italian MEP Giovanni La Via told the Parool.
‘The fact that one of the two had pulled out in February is important information,’ he said. ‘This is a bad signal from the Netherlands.’
The new office complex in Amsterdam’s Zuidas business district will cost between €200m and €300m and the Dutch state is picking up the bill. The contact for the job should be signed on March 8.