EMA post-Brexit: Temporary site half the size of London HQ

By Flora Southey

- Last updated on GMT

GettyImages/Prasit Rodphan
GettyImages/Prasit Rodphan

Related tags European union

The building chosen to temporarily house the EMA in Amsterdam from February 2019 is “not ideal”, but “the best option”, says executive director.

In November last year, EU Member States voted​ Amsterdam the new home of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), to be fully operational by the time the UK withdraws from the EU, on March 30, 2019.

While the permanent building is under construction, the EMA will move into the Spark building – located in west Amsterdam’s Sloterdijk district.

The building houses office and conference capabilities, and is easily accessible by public transport, The Netherlands’ Minister of Medical Care Bruno Bruins told media today.

However, the temporary site offers the EMA half the space currently according at its headquarters in London.

“It is not an optimal solution,” ​said executive director Guido Rasi.

While some external meeting facilities will be required, the Agency will be able to host its core meetings in the Spark building, and the use of a temporary office will enable the builders to speed up construction of the permanent building, said Rasi.

“Even if the temporary building is not ideal, it is the best option,” ​he told delegates, adding that this “workable solution”​ will allow core business to run inside with building without major disruption.

Rental costs were not disclosed.

An ‘ambitious’ timeline

According to Rasi, the EMA’s relocation to Amsterdam is the “single, biggest challenge the EMA has ever had.”

He put this down to the “ambitious timeline”, which requires the Agency to move twice – firstly to temporary, and then permanent, headquarters in the Dutch capital.

Moving twice will require more resources, and will “take longer to go back to normal operations” ​said Rasi.

The executive director said the EMA is working with UK authorities to make sure shortages of medicines will not occur as a result of the relocation.

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