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Three EU states quit race to host medicine agency after Brexit

Three EU states quit race to host medicine agency after Brexit

On Monday, multiple rounds of voting by European ministers narrowed the pool of hopeful cities to Amsterdam and Milan, Italy, but failed to determine a clear victor.

Amsterdam, Netherlands, has won its bid to become the new home of the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

After a heated battle to see who succeeds London, the Dutch city and Milan both claimed 13 votes Monday.

The European Union has picked Paris as the new host for its London-based banking authority after Britain leaves the bloc, in a second drawing of lots in just one evening, following three rounds of voting that failed to produce a victor.

Also licking wounds from a secret ballot that tested friends and rivals in a race for lucrative spoils were the ex-communist countries of eastern Europe, which complaint they host few of the EU's 40-odd agencies due to joining late.

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The Czech Republic's European Union minister, Ales Chmelar, said Prague, a candidate to host the EBA, expected at least one of the two bodies to move to less-developed, ex-communist eastern Europe, where the Slovak capital Bratislava is also a strong contender for the EMA. After three rounds of voting, the Dutch capital was tied with Milan, resulting in the coin toss as a tie-breaker on Monday in Brussels, Reuters reported. In the event of a tie, the presidency will select one of the two tied offers from a ballot box.

The outcome was welcomed by European pharmaceuticals bodies. "We must now ensure Brexit does not disrupt the safe supply of vital medicines". In another sign of regional solidarity, Belgium's foreign minister said Amsterdam would make a good pick, even though Brussels is itself in the running for both agencies.

The two agencies are now based in Canary Wharf where they employ around 1,000 staff.

In all, 19 cities had bid for the prestige and economic boost that the arrival of the EMA's 900 staff and many offices for worldwide pharmaceuticals companies will bring.

European Council president Donald Tusk said that "the real victor of today's vote is EU27", adding that the bloc was "organised and getting ready for Brexit".

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