EMA in Amsterdam: Italy to appeal EU post-Brexit plan | News | DW | 31.01.2018

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EMA in Amsterdam: Italy to appeal EU post-Brexit plan

The decision to move the EU medical agency from London to Amsterdam will be challenged on the grounds that the Dutch city is unprepared for the move. The news has incensed Milan officials, who narrowly lost the bid.

EMA headquarters in London

The European Medicines Agency is currently based in London and must relocate to a new city by March 30, 2019.

The Italian government plans to appeal the EU decision to move the European Medicines Agency (EMA) from London to Amsterdam after Brexit. Italian officials confirmed on Tuesday that the challenge will be made through the European Court of Justice.

Milan was a runner-up for the relocation of the EMA and tied the Dutch city in a final vote between EU governments. The winner was then determined by drawing a name out of a bowl.

Like other EU agencies based in London, the medical agency - which is responsible for scientific evaluation, supervision and safety monitoring of medicines in the EU - must relocate by March 30, 2019, the day after Brexit.

Read moreAmsterdam, Paris win bids for EU agencies EMA and EBA

Milan Mayor Beppe Sala said he discussed the issue with Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni. "I told him, listen, it is time to go on the offensive ... no doubt it will happen - the appeal will be filed today," Sala said.

An Italian government source confirmed the decision and called it "appropriate," pointing to the Dutch government's announcement that the EMA's new headquarters wouldn't be ready until November 2019 and that the agency would have to be temporarily housed somewhere else in the meantime.

Italy will ask the court to review the decision on the basis that "incomplete information" was provided at the time of the vote.

Read moreGermany looks to reap Brexit dividend as EU agencies leave London

Dutch government 'unconcerned'

Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra said on Tuesday that he was not concerned about the Italian appeal. 

"We carefully followed the (bidding) procedure and the outcome of that was that the EMA is coming to Amsterdam, and I have no reason whatsoever to think that's going to change," he added.

Brussels officials responded to the Italian request to reopen the issue with skepticism. European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said the decision Was final, saying "the decision was taken, that's it."

EMA head Guido Rasi was disappointed by the temporary relocation and referred to it as "not an optimal solution." Rasi added that during this time the agency will have only half of the space it currently enjoys in London.

Watch video 05:32

Britain - Out of the EU, out with Europeans?

jcg/kms (Reuters, dpa)

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