EMA admits temporary Amsterdam home ‘not optimal solution’

Amsterdam ema building

Initial plans for a temporary building to house the European Medicines Agency (EMA) after it moves to Amsterdam have been shelved after it was concluded that the intended accommodation was not “fully fit for purpose”, EMA executive director, Guido Rasi, has said.

Rasi said Dutch authorities had been asked to find an alternative to the EMA’s proposed temporary home and while a decision on new premises had taken “longer than expected” new short-term accommodation had now been found.

But he admitted that the temporary premises were still “not an optimal solution” as they would only provide half the space currently available in the EMA’s London location. As a result, external facilities will need to be used for anything other than “core scientific meetings”.

“We are working against extremely tight deadlines,” said Rasi.

“On 1 January 2019 we need a fully operational building in order to move our staff gradually from London to Amsterdam before 30 March 2019, when the UK withdraws from the EU. That means that even if these temporary premises are not ideal, they are the best option under the current time restrictions.”

In his statement, Rasi explained that the double transfer will force the EMA to invest more resources and means it will take the organisation longer to get back to “normal operations”.

However he assured that the EMA would do its utmost to make the double move work.

The planned move to Amsterdam from the EMA’s current Canary Wharf headquarters had always included temporary accommodation while the organisation’s new permanent home, the Vivaldi Building, was completed.

An internal survey carried out in 2017 showed that 81% of EMA staff would be willing to move to Amsterdam. Among the 19 EMA candidate cities Amsterdam scored highest in terms of staff retention.

However, a spokesperson for the EMA said it was still too early to determine exactly how many staff would relocate.

“Staff are encouraged to reflect on whether they would relocate with the Agency and one-on-one meetings will be held to get a clearer picture of people’s plans by the end of February,” they said. 

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, February 2018, Vol 300, No 7910;300(7910):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2018.20204335

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