FAQs Relocation of EMA

Why is the European Medicines Agency (EMA) relocating to the Netherlands?

EMA is leaving London because of the UK’s decision (Brexit) to withdraw from the European Union. Amsterdam was one of 19 cities keen to host the EMA.

The four key elements of the Dutch bid were:

  • business continuity
  • a high level of international connectivity
  • long-term commitment by the Dutch government
  • a vibrant international host community.

The European Union’s 27 member states selected Amsterdam as the new location for EMA.

How was Amsterdam chosen?

On 20 November 2017, the decision was taken in the margins of the meeting of the Council of the European Union that EMA would relocate to Amsterdam in 2019. After the first round of voting, the shortlisted cities were Milan (25 votes), Amsterdam (20 votes) and Copenhagen (20 votes). After the second round of voting, Milan (12 votes) and Amsterdam (9 votes) were left. Both cities received 13 votes in the third round. Amsterdam was selected after lots were drawn. EMA had no say in the selection process.

How do EMA staff feel about moving to the Netherlands?

Amsterdam was one of EMA staff’s preferred locations.

EMA’s executive director Guido Rasi said, ‘A staff survey showed that the vast majority (81%) of EMA staff would be willing to move with the Agency to Amsterdam.’

Nevertheless, moving to another country means considerable upheaval in the lives of staff and their families. The Dutch government is committed to making the transition as smooth as possible for EMA and its staff. It is therefore providing assistance and support throughout the entire process.

How many staff will be relocated to the Netherlands?

The exact number is not yet known, but the aim is to relocate as many staff as possible.

What will EMA’s relocation mean for Amsterdam’s economy?

EMA will create jobs in Amsterdam, directly and indirectly. The relocation of EMA is expected to boost the life sciences industry in the Netherlands. The Dutch government will support companies that want to relocate in order to be closer to EMA.

What about the Seat Agreement?

In its bid book, the Dutch government pledged a Seat Agreement for EMA. It will contain agreements about privileges and immunities similar to those made with other EU agencies based in the Netherlands. The Seat Agreement should be finalised before summer 2018. Read the news item 'The European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the Netherlands agree on Seat Agreement'.