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Brexit battles: Italy tries again for the EMA

Brexit battles: Italy tries again for the EMA
By Catherine Hardy with reuters
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The city of Milan is appealing against the decision to move the European Medicines Agency to Amsterdam from its home in London. The agency must leave its current base before the UK leaves the EU in March 2019.


Italy has asked the EU to reconsider whether the European Medicines Agency (EMA) could be moved to Milan after Brexit.

There are concerns about the agency's planned move to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. It is currently based in London.

How was Amsterdam chosen?

The agency's new home was decided by drawing lots last November.

What does Milan say?

That, in light of concerns raised by Executive Director Guido Rasi on Monday about the temporary space available in Amsterdam, the city will try again for a chance to host the agency.

Officials will appeal against the decision.

"The government will take all appropriate action with the European Commission and the relevant authorities to make sure that the decision by which Milan lost out at the draw is reconsidered," an official source said.

"The single biggest challenge we have dealt with" - EMA chief

On Monday, the head of the European Drugs agency said the temporary space it will use in Amsterdam while a permanent new facility is being constructed is "not optimal" but the best possible under the circumstances.

European Medicines Agency Executive Director Guido Rasi said in a statement his organisation has little choice but to accept the temporary base in Amsterdam as it is under pressure to relocate ahead of the UK's exit from the EU in March 2019.

"The physical relocation of EMA to a new host country is the single biggest challenge EMA has ever had to deal with since its establishment," Risi said.

The EMA's temporary home

The Dutch health ministry has said in a separate statement the EMA will occupy the "Spark" building in western Amsterdam during 2019.

This is ahead of the scheduled completion of a new building to house the EMA in south Amsterdam, starting in 2020.

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