The Dutch authorities have handed over to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) its new premises, located in the Zuidas business area of Amsterdam.
On 15 November EMA’s Executive Director Guido Rasi ‘signed the lease agreement and thanked the Dutch authorities for reaching this important milestone on time’, according to a report on the EMA website.
EU member states decided in 2017 that the agency, formerly based in London, would be transferred to another location because of the Brexit. Nineteen cities were interested in housing the EMA. After three rounds of voting following a meeting of the European Council in November 2017, a tie was declared between Amsterdam and Milan and the final decision was made by the presidency drawing lots between the two cities.
In March of this year the EMA moved to Amsterdam, operating from temporary premises in Amsterdam Sloterdijk. Now that the newly built and tailor-made Zuidas building has been handed over to EMA, technical equipment will be installed followed by IT configuration and testing.
According to the EMA, it is expected that staff can move into their new offices and workspaces in January 2020. ‘From 9 December to 10 January, most EMA staff will work remotely, to allow equipment and furniture to be moved to the final building. From 23 December to 3 January, the Agency will be closed for the Christmas break. Staff will gradually move into the final premises as of 13 January.’ During the transitional period there will only be a few face-to-face meetings.
The move into the EMA building will mark the last step of the Agency’s relocation to the Netherlands.
As is explained in this article, EMA – with its 900 employees – brings a lot to the Amsterdam area, with numerous spin-off effects. ‘Last year alone it attracted 36,000 regular international visitors to London. This of course had a direct positive impact on the income and revenues of hotels, restaurants, the entertainment industry, and all modes of transport. (…)
The presence of a regulatory agency attracts all sorts of new activities, [EMA Executive Director Professor Guido] Rasi knows from experience. “Many companies like to have offices close to us. We have seen this happen in London, and it will happen again in Amsterdam too. (…)” It also works as a magnet for service providers and legal counsel.’
According to the Dutch public news service NOS, the new EMA building cost 225 million euro, including 20 years of maintenance. This must be earned back through EMA’s rental payments. The Dutch ministry of economics expects The Netherlands to earn an estimated 128 million euros per year from the arrival of EMA.