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EMA will be using temporary premises in the city while construction of the new building takes place, which is not ideal because it requires moving the agency's headquarters twice.
Guido Rasi, executive director of the European Medicines Agency, has expressed concerns over the extremely tight deadline for the relocation of EMA from London to Amsterdam. “The physical relocation of EMA to a new host country is the single biggest challenge EMA has ever had to deal with since its establishment,” he said in a statement at a press conference with Dutch authorities. “Moving a large organization such as EMA to a new location is a complex undertaking under any circumstances. It is made even more challenging by the ambitious timeline we are given.” The United Kingdom will leave the European Union on Mar. 29, 2019, which means that EMA will need to be based in Amsterdam by Mar. 30, 2019.
As the new facility will not be ready by then, EMA will have to use temporary offices in the city first, which is not ideal because the double move will require more resources, according to Rasi. “It will take us longer to go back to normal operations, where we can again carry out important public health activities beyond those imposed on us by legislation,” he said in his statement.
EMA has been working hard with Dutch authorities since November 2017 to ensure a seamless transition. “During the past few weeks, we have had extensive discussions on the selection of a temporary building. Both sides agreed that the initially proposed buildings were not fully fit for purpose, and that therefore, our Dutch partners had to find another option. This took longer than expected, but I am glad that we now found a solution. However, this is not an optimal solution. We will only have half the space compared with our current premises in London. While we will also have to use external meeting facilities, we will at least be able to host our core scientific meetings in the temporary building. This solution may be less disruptive to our work and will also allow the constructors to speed up the completion of the permanent building in Zuidas.”
In his closing remarks, Rasi emphasized that EMA will do its best to make the double move work. “We all need to be aware of what is at stake here: the preservation of an activity that benefits all citizens in Europe and protects public health,” he said.