Milan is current favorite in race to be EMA's new home

EMA headquarters London

ROME - A meeting of Europe’s General Affairs Council will decide the fate of the European Medical Agency. The EU agency, currently located in London, has to find a new home ahead of post-brexit Britain.

 The secret vote to be taken on Monday afternoon in Brussels will decide where the agency is to be moved to. The agency has already made clear which cities it prefers. The organisation’s two main criteria are a location that would allow the least upheaval in the resettling of the 900 staff, and a location that is not to “peripheral” in the European continent.

 The EU is entertaining the possibility of moving the agency to an EU country that currently has no major agencies such as Bratislava. The current list of potential winners is: Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Milan, and Vienna. Barcelona has been ruled out due to the political situation and Dublin has withdrawn their bid in order to pursue the European Banking Authority whose fate is also being decided today.

 “From the technical, practical, operational and functional point of view, Milan really has all the cards in place,” says Enzo Moavero Milanesi, advisor of the Council's Chairman for the dossier EMA. The Italian government has volunteered 40 million euros for the bid and, according to Moavero Milanesi, the facility is practically ready. As the EMA only has 17 months to relocate completely, as of the Nov. 20, it is clear that such preparedness could make all the difference.

 The EMA regulates medicine for the 500 million citizens of the EU member states, as well that of their livestock and pets. Whichever member state that wins their bid will enjoy both an increased political profile within the EU as well as the economic benefits of hosting a major organisation on their soil. The EU’s choice will no doubt reflect their fear that choosing purely economically or politically could have the disastrous effect of bleeding the agency of talent as professionals may wish to take up positions in more appealing locations.