Update: European Medicines Agency Relocation - Preparing for Brexit

We are closely following the process of the relocation of the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

An announcement from the European Council revealed that there have been offers to replace London in hosting the EMA from the following 19 cities:

  • Amsterdam
  • Athens
  • Barcelona
  • Bonn
  • Bratislava
  • Brussels
  • Bucharest
  • Copenhagen
  • Dublin
  • Helsinki
  • Lille
  • Malta
  • Milan
  • Porto
  • Sofia
  • Stockholm
  • Vienna
  • Warsaw
  • Zagreb

All the proposals, including short videos put forward by some of the cities, can be viewed here.

The EC has said that the Commission will assess the offers using the agreed criteria (see our earlier article here) by 30 September 2017 with a political discussion to follow in October 2017 and a final decision in November 2017.  

Business Continuity

The EMA has developed a business continuity plan (the “Plan”) to deal with the uncertainty and workload implications of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and the EMA’s relocation.  They say that “with the business continuity plan we aim to ensure that the assessment of medicines is not disrupted and that patients in Europe continue to have access to high quality, safe and effective medicines”, through categorising and prioritising tasks, but recognising that some activities will be suspended, so as to free up staff to focus on the move.  The EMA has stated that they will provide further updates on the implementation of its business continuity plan as necessary and we will continue to follow these.

Cost to the UK

It has been reported that the cost to the UK to relocate the EMA will be €600 million, with the majority of these costs being due to its Canary Wharf offices. As there is no break clause in the lease, the rent is payable until 30 June 2039 so we can anticipate some serious and costly negotiations. It is unclear why this is a cost for the UK rather than the EMA itself, although the EU previously said that its relocation was as a result of Brexit, which is why it will look to the UK to pay.

Contact our experts for further advice

Catherine Penny, Hannah Lunn

Search our site