Wednesday

26th Jul 2017

Dutch offer €250mn office for EU medicines agency

  • The new building for the EU medicines agency, if the Netherlands will host it, will be built in the business district in southern Amsterdam (Photo: Pieter Musterd)

The Dutch government and Amsterdam municipal authorities are willing to spend up to €2 million on its bid to host the European Medicines Agency (EMA) after Brexit, Amsterdam deputy mayor Kajsa Ollongren told EUobserver on Tuesday (11 July).

If EU member states decide in November that the EMA should go to the Netherlands after the UK leaves the EU, the country would spend an additional €250 million to €300 million to construct a building especially for the agency.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  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.

The Netherlands would also invest €2 million in its national regulator, the Dutch Medicines Evaluation Board, and €8 million in the EU network of regulators.

Ollongren presented the Dutch bid in Brussels on Tuesday alongside Dutch health minister Edith Schippers and Wouter Bos, chairman of the board of directors of VU University Medical Centre.

Bos was appointed as special ambassador for the Dutch bid and is a familiar face in Brussels: he used to be the Dutch finance minister (2007-2010).

“I personally cannot remember any time in my career when a European institution was loved so much by so many,” he said.

Search for a new home

Of the 27 remaining EU member states after Brexit, 23 countries have expressed an interest in hosting the EMA, or the European Banking Authority, another EU agency that needs a new home.

“May the best bid win. Of course, we are convinced that the bid that I hold here in my hands is the best bid,” said Bos.

Health minister Schippers, who is actually caretaker minister after the 15 March parliament elections, which have still not yielded a new coalition, “urged” member states to keep the interests of patients in mind.

“Think of the many people with chronic diseases, who can live good and productive lives thanks to their medication. Think of all those patients with cancer that have an ever-increasing chance of survival, thanks to innovative treatments and medication,” she said.

The subliminal message was: do not let political desire for a prized possession overshadow the need for a smooth relocation of an agency that tests medicines and treatments.

“There is strong competition and fierce debate about the relocation of EMA. We all want the douze points,” said Schippers, referring to the Eurovision-style voting that will decide the new location of the agencies.

Political decision

Member states have until 31 July to present their bids, following which the European Commission will produce an assessment of the pitches.

The commission acts as the EU's executive branch and is seen as the most neutral institution to carry out the assessment.

However, in the end there is still a possibility that political horse-trading determines the final location of the agencies.

“Of course, we know that this is a political decision,” said Schippers. “But we urge every country to take into account the assessment of the European Commission.”

The Dutch presented their bid to journalists in a room in the Residence Palace, a stone's throw from the European Council and commission buildings.

Journalists were handed an 86-page document which purportedly explained why Amsterdam was the best location.

Rent

According to the bid, the EMA would have to pay between €8 million and €9 million in rent a year, a normal market price.

That is a lot less then the almost €16 million a year the agency is stuck paying for the next 22 years, because it had not included a break clause in its contract for the London building.

The Dutch bid specifically noted that its rental contract could include a break clause. It also said that the Netherlands was “willing to provide EMA with a one-off financial transition incentive”, which could include a rent-free period. However, it said the “details of these incentives will be presented in a separate letter”.

The estimated cost of the building would mean that it would take between 27 and 37 years before the investment in the new building will have been paid back in rent.

If the Netherlands wins the bid, building will start shortly afterwards and should be finished by April 2019.

Amsterdam deputy mayor Ollongren said that this was a short period.

However, she said that if the building is not completely finished, some staff can be temporary housed in the building next door, belonging to consultancy firm EY – formerly Ernst & Young.

Ollongren said that there was no agreement yet with EY, but that that “shouldn't be a problem”.

Relocation of EU agencies could save money

The EU agencies that will leave London after Brexit are likely have a financial windfall of several million euros a year, because of the way EU salaries are calculated.

EU urges UK to clarify its Brexit positions

EU and UK negotiators presented their Brexit positions to identify common grounds this week, but that was made difficult by the scarcity of UK position papers.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  3. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  4. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  5. ECPAFood waste in the field can double without crop protection. #WithOrWithout #pesticides
  6. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  7. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  8. Martens CentreWeeding out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  9. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  10. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Episode 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug
  11. CESICESI to Participate in Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on Postal Services
  12. ILGA-EuropeMalta Keeps on Rocking: Marriage Equality on Its Way

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Friends of ArmeniaEuFoA Director and MEPs Comment on the Recent Conflict Escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh
  2. EU2017EEEstonian Presidency Kicks off Youth Programme With Coding Summer School
  3. EPSUEP Support for Corporate Tax Transparency Principle Unlikely to Pass Reality Check
  4. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament Improves the External Investment Plan but Significant Challenges Ahead
  5. EU2017EEPM Ratas: EU Is Not Only an Idea for the 500mn People in the Bloc, It Is Their Daily Reality
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCloser Energy Co-Operation Keeps Nordic Region on Top in Green Energy
  7. ILGA-EuropeGermany Finally Says Ja - Bundestag Votes for Marriage Equality!
  8. EPSUJapanese and European Public Sector Unions Slam JEFTA
  9. World VisionEU, Young Leaders and Civil Society Join Forces to End Violence Against Girls
  10. UNICEFNarrowing the Gaps: The Power of Investing in the Health of the Poorest Children
  11. EU2017EEEstonia to Surprise Europe With Unique Cultural Programme
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Talks Should Insist on Ending Reprisals Vs. Critical Voices