Saturday

21st Oct 2017

Italy brushes off southern alliance in EU agency race

  • Italy thinks Milan is the best place to host the European Medicines Agency, which will have to leave London after Brexit. (Photo: Joseph Pearson)

Italian state secretary of European affairs Sandro Gozi did not want to commit to a Greek proposal to have all Mediterranean EU countries support each others' bids to host the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

"There are many talks. Everybody is talking to everybody else," Gozi said on Monday (25 September) at a presentation of Italy's bid to host EMA.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Italy's EU minister, Gozi (r), speaking to the European Commission's second-in-command, Frans Timmermans. (Photo: Council of the European Union)

The London-based agency needs to be relocated after the UK leaves the EU. Its new location will be decided through a maximum of three rounds of votes at a November ministerial meeting in Brussels.

Earlier this month, Gozi's Greek colleague, alternate minister of foreign affairs Georgios Katrougalos, suggested that during the first round, Mediterranean member states - Cyprus, France, Italy, Malta, Portugal, and Spain - should only give votes to each other.

When EUobserver asked Gozi at Monday's presentation what he thought of the idea, he declined to answer.

"I will say it is too early to unveil the strategy we are carrying out, otherwise it wouldn't be strategy," said Gozi.

Before the November vote, the European Commission will publish an assessment of all the bids. That paper, due by Saturday (30 September), is based on six criteria, which were determined by EU leaders last June.

The criteria are: completion of new office by the date of Brexit, accessibility of the location, presence of international schools, job opportunities for spouses, business continuity, and taking into account past promises that agencies should be divided between member states as much as possible, particularly in those that do not host one yet.

Italy had also wanted the commission to produce a shortlist, but the EU executive will not do that.

The Italian centre-left politician said that Milan, which is Italy's candidate city for EMA, fulfils all the criteria.

"That is not the case for other bids," he said.

Criteria

"We want to promote something in the interest of European citizens. We talk about security and human health," said Gozi. "We want to ensure the good functioning of the single market. These are all specific conditions that we can ensure, that others cannot ensure."

When asked to specify which countries' bids did not fulfil the criteria, Gozi refused to give names.

"I think it would be very easy to identify these countries I was referring to when you read the very well-written and objective report of the European Commission on 30 September," he said.

Gozi left immediately after that, but while entering his car he told EUobserver that he had not yet seen the commission's report; "of course not".

So he could not know for sure that some countries' bids did not fulfil the criteria, or even that the report would be well-written, this website retorted. Gozi answered that he was "confident" of it.

Monday's presentation was the latest in a series of events in Brussels, to promote candidate cities' bids.

AC Milan vs Inter Milan

However, it had more of an impression of being targeted to a domestic audience.

The whole event was held in Italian, many of the audience members seemed to understand without interpretation, and there were hearty laughs at jokes referring to local Italian contexts.

State secretary Gozi was also accompanied by the Italian health minister, the president of the Lombardy region, and the mayor of Milan - the latter two stressing the remarkableness of their working together since they both supported different Milanese football teams: AC Milan and Inter Milan.

The Italian bid, submitted to the Council of the European Union, includes a building that is owned by Italy's northern Lombardy region. EMA could rent the building at a discounted price.

Italy has also allocated €59 million in taxpayer money to cover costs of changing features of the building "to ensure that it meets EMA's specific requirements, including the cost of acquiring furnishings and installations for the meeting rooms".

Gozi defended the allocation as "worthwhile", because it would "ensure the well-functioning of the agency, which is so important for the health of our citizens and for the in general the good functioning of Europe".

Read more on EU agencies in EUobserver's 2017 Regions & Cities Magazine.

Click here to access EUobserver's entire magazine collection.

EU agency relocation race starts with 23 cities

Cities from 21 countries have applied to host the two London-based EU agencies, which will have to be relocated after Brexit, with Luxembourg throwing its hat in for the banking authority.

Magazine

The EU Agencies Race

In this edition of EUobserver's Regions & Cities magazine, we take a closer look at some of the EU agencies, exploring how their location matters and the benefits for cities and regions to host them.

Magazine

The EU Agencies Race

In this edition of EUobserver's Regions & Cities magazine, we take a closer look at some of the EU agencies, exploring how their location matters and the benefits for cities and regions to host them.

News in Brief

  1. Rajoy to trigger Article 155 on Saturday in Catalan crisis
  2. EU conducts unannounced inspection of German car firm
  3. Lithuania calls for new EU energy laws
  4. EU leaders aim for December for defence cooperation
  5. Juncker says hands tied on Russia pipeline
  6. Czechs set to elect billionaire Andrej Babis
  7. Italian regions hold referendums on more autonomy
  8. EU leaders refuse to mediate Catalonia conflict

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi Jinping Proposes Stronger Global Security Governance at Interpol Assembly
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaEU Engagement Could Contribute to Lasting Peace in Nagorno-Karabakh
  3. UNICEFViolence in Myanmar Driving 12,000 Rohingya Refugee Children Into Bangladesh Every Week
  4. European Jewish CongressBulgaria Applauded for Adopting the Working Definition of Antisemitism
  5. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  6. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  8. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  9. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  10. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  11. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  12. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!

Latest News

  1. The mysterious German behind Orban's Russian deals
  2. Mogherini urged to do more on Russian propaganda
  3. Turkey funding cuts signal EU mood shift
  4. Posted workers top EU agenda This Week
  5. Leaders lobby to host EU agencies at summit's margins
  6. Legal tweak could extend EU control on Russia pipeline
  7. Ukraine language law does not harm minorities
  8. EU begins preparations for Brexit trade talks

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People
  2. EU2017EEEHealth: A Tool for More Equal Health
  3. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism a Key Driver for Job Creation and Enhanced Competitiveness
  4. CECENon-Harmonised Homologation of Mobile Machinery Costs € 90 Million per Year
  5. ILGA-EuropeMass Detention of Azeri LGBTI People - the LGBTI Community Urgently Needs Your Support
  6. European Free AllianceCatalans Have Won the Right to Have an Independent State
  7. ECR GroupBrexit: Delaying the Start of Negotiations Is Not a Solution
  8. EU2017EEPM Ratas in Poland: "We Enjoy the Fruits of European Cooperation Thanks to Solidarity"
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina and UK Discuss Deepening of Global Comprehensive Strategic Partnership
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceEHLA Joins Commissioners Navracsics, Andriukaitis and Hogan at EU Week of Sport
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council Representative Office Opens in Brussels to Foster Better Cooperation
  12. UNICEFSocial Protection in the Contexts of Fragility & Forced Displacement