In light of the UK’s decision to leave the EU, Ireland has submitted its formal bid to relocate the European Medicines Agency (EMA) from London to Dublin.
In a statement, Minister for Health Simon Harris, highlighted Dublin’s suitability as a location, explaining: “The European Union must now ensure that a sustainable solution is found for the European Medicines Agency, and that any loss of expertise or disruption to its operations is minimised.
“We must ensure that European citizens are protected. The Irish Government firmly believes that relocation to Dublin will lead to the best outcomes for the Agency, its staff, stakeholders and, most importantly, the citizens of Europe.”
Minister Harris went on to suggest that a shift to Dublin would maximise staff retention because English is the main language spoken and it would be the least disruptive option for their staff, who are currently London-based.
Mr Harris continued: “Dublin also offers the option to commute if families of EMA staff wish to remain in London for a period after Brexit. Quality of life in Dublin is excellent. It is a safe, tolerant, multicultural city with a vibrant cultural and social life. Dublin is already home to citizens from across Europe and is experienced in integrating large, multinational workforces into the local community”.
A central element to the Irish offer is that the Government will establish a Transition Taskforce to work with the EMA to plan, manage and implement the relocation, to ensure that the EMA can relocate to its new home and carry out its functions from day one.
The Irish Government has undertaken to contract the services of relocation experts to assist EMA staff and their families in the potential transition from London to Dublin and three buildings have been identified from which the EMA could select its preferred option for a new headquarters.
Due to the significant costs which Brexit will incur for the EMA and the European Commission, the Irish Government has committed to making a total contribution of €78m over the next decade towards the expenses related to a new premises. This will amount to €15m towards the cost of adapting and renting the selected premises in the first year (2019), followed by an annual contribution of €7 million per annum from year two to year 10 (2020-2028) towards rent and maintenance.