April 10, 2017 / 10:30 AM / 4 months ago

Twenty-one countries vie to host EU drug agency after Brexit

    By Ben Hirschler
    LONDON, April 10 (Reuters) - The European Medicines Agency
has had expressions of interest to host the London-based
regulator from 21 of the 27 countries that will form the
European Union once Britain leaves, revealing rivalry from
Amsterdam to Zagreb for a prized institution.
    The European Medicines Agency (EMA), Europe's equivalent of
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, is preparing to leave its
London headquarters in the wake of Brexit and its executive
director is hoping for a quick decision on its new location.
    The agency is responsible for the smooth-running of the EU
drug approval process, which is vital for companies, as well as
overseeing the safety of medicines once they reach the market.
    With nearly 900 skilled staff, an annual budget of 322
million euros ($340 million) and luring 36,000 experts a year to
its meetings, the EMA is the largest EU institution in Britain
and an attractive prospect for multiple cities.
    Its new location will be determined by EU heads of state,
meeting as the European Council, leaving plenty of scope for
haggling. 
    The other significant EU body in London is the European
Banking Authority, with 160 staff, which is also set to
relocate.
    The EMA told Reuters that representatives of governments
and/or cities from the following countries had been in touch in
to declare their interest in hosting the agency:
 Austria
 Belgium
 Croatia
 Cyprus
 Czech Republic
 Denmark
 Finland
 France
 Germany
 Greece
 Hungary
 Ireland
 Italy
 Malta
 Netherlands
 Portugal
 Romania
 Slovakia
 Slovenia
 Spain
 Sweden
    The EMA said it did not know if all those that had expressed
interest would go on to submit a formal bid.
    One notable name missing from the list is Poland, which had
been tipped as being among countries keen to host the regulator.
An agency spokeswoman said Polish officials had not been in
touch to declare an interest.
   ($1 = 0.9450 euros)

 (Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Mark Potter)
  

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