19 EU cities have applied to the Council of the European Union, which is one of the EU institutions and represents the executive governments of the EU's member states, in order to host the European Medicines Agency (EMA) currently based in the UK.
The agency will need to be relocated in the context of the UK's withdrawal from the EU. The future location needs to be decided by common agreement of the EU member states.
These are the cities proposed to host the EMA, as on 1 August 2017:
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is responsible for the scientific evaluation, supervision and safety monitoring of medicines in the EU.
The applications received will be assessed on the basis of six criteria agreed by the 27 member states:
It is expected that the relocation of the EMA will bring an economic boost to whichever city is chosen, given the number of jobs and investment it will bring.
According to some sources Bratislava is a likely contender due to the fact that no EU agencies are located in central or eastern Europe. However, Barcelona, Dublin, and Milan have all put in strong bids as well.
It is likely that the relocation of the agency will have a great impact, not only because it has to move its headquarters and personnel, but also because the relationship with the UK Medicines Health and Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will change and potential risks need to be minimised in the event of a hard Brexit.
The Commission will publish an assessment of the offers based on the agreed criteria by 30 September 2017. Ministers will have a political discussion based on the Commission's assessment in October 2017 in the margins of the General Affairs Council (Art. 50).
The decision will be taken in the margins of the General Affairs Council (Art.50) in November 2017 by a vote of the 27 ministers. All offers will be submitted to the vote unless they are withdrawn by the countries concerned. The vote will consist of successive voting rounds as needed, with the votes cast by secret ballot and each of the 27 member states having the same number of votes.