EMA Provides Update on Relocation Preparedness and Impact on Staff Retention

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Staff survey on the relocation of EMA indicates that the future of public health in Europe is at stake.

While the European Commission continues to assess all bids submitted by member states for the relocation of EMA, the agency has meanwhile announced that it is making available the results of its most recent staff retention survey. Results of the survey have raised serious concerns. The survey was launched on Sept. 4, 2017 in the context of EMA’s business continuity planning after all candidate host cities were known. EMA staff had the opportunity to study in detail the bids from 19 member states.

The survey was sent to all staff members including temporary agents, contract agents, and national experts-92% of the staff completed the survey. Results indicated that for 65% of EMA staff, the new EMA location will be a key factor in their decision to relocate or not.

EMA notes that the retention of skilled and experienced staff is crucial for the agency’s continuity of operations. The outcome that was shared with staff earlier in September 2017 revealed that for certain locations, staff retention rates could be significantly less than 30%. The agency’s operations would be severely affected because there is no backup and there would be public health consequences in the EU as a result. Results of the survey also showed that in the best-case scenario, EMA could keep up to 81% of its workforce.


In preparation for its relocation, EMA has been working on a business continuity plan to avoid disruptions in the assessments of medicines so that patients in Europe will continue to have access to high-quality, safe and effective medicines. Several staff surveys have been carried by the agency since November 2016 to help prepare for staff losses and improve planning for succession and knowledge transfer. EMA notes that some staff losses can be absorbed with its business continuity plan, but beyond a critical threshold, the agency will no longer be able to function properly in fulfilling its mandate to protect the health of European citizens.

Source: EMA