EMA to Relocate to New HQ in Amsterdam in Wake of Brexit

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Following a vote by member states in favor of Amsterdam as the agency’s new headquarters, the relocation will take place over the next 16 months, with operations expected to start up in March 2019.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced on Nov. 20, 2017 that it will relocate to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, following a vote by the 27 European Union (EU) member states in favor of making the city the new headquarters for the agency in the wake of Brexit. EMA has been based in London, UK, since it was established in 1995 and currently employs nearly 900 staff members at its headquarters in Canary Wharf, London.

The agency has just over 16 months to prepare for the move, which is a consequence of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, and will take up operations in Amsterdam by March 30, 2019 at the latest. The agency itself was not involved in the selection of the new location.

“We welcome [the] decision on the new location of EMA. Now that we finally know where our journey is taking us, we can take concrete actions for a successful move,” said EMA Executive Director Guido Rasi in the agency’s press release.

“Amsterdam ticks many of our boxes,” he continued in the release. “It offers excellent connectivity and a building that can be shaped according to our needs. I am very grateful that the [m]ember [s]tates took into account our requirements for business continuity and gave priority to the protection of public and animal health."

Internal surveys show that a majority of EMA staff would be willing to move with the agency to Amsterdam. “However, even in this case, our activities will be impacted and we need to plan for this now to avoid the creation of gaps in knowledge and expertise,” Rasi said in the press release.


Amsterdam was one of 19 offers to host EMA that were submitted by the EU member states at the end of July 2017. The decision on the new location follows an assessment of the bids by the European Commission and EMA.

To start off their collaboration, EMA and the Netherlands will establish a joint governance structure that will steer and oversee the relocation project. The agency intends to give stakeholders and the public full visibility of the relocation project, and in early December, it will make available a monitoring chart on its website to allow tracking of the progress made with the relocation.

Source: EMA