The race to host the European Medicines Agency – How do the bidding cities shape up?

Following our first appraisal of five of the cities bidding to host the European Medicines Agency (EMA), in this article, we consider how some of the other bidders shape up against the main criteria.  These criteria are:

  • Strong science base offering scientific and medical experts
  • The accessibility of the location
  • Provision of sufficient hotel and meeting capacity
  • The availability of suitable housing, jobs, schooling, social security services and healthcare for EMA staff and their families
  • Not already hosting an EU agency or institution.

The EU Commission are very keen to choose a country with a strong commitment to the EU who are very politically stable.  It would probably be advantageous if English is commonly spoken in the elected city.  It is also an asset for the EMA to be located in a country with a well-managed and sizeable national competent authority.

 

Country Strengths Weaknesses
Brussels, Belgium

 

  • Good scientific contribution and R&D despite smaller bas than some cities
  • Potential for growth opportunities
  • High number of international/European schools
  • Moderately high ranking in work-life balance and quality of living
  • Very active port and airport
  • Housing costs lower than some other candidate cities
  • New building in the centre of the city being constructed with good capacity
  • Politically stable
  • Less strong city infrastructure
  • Smaller competent authority
  • Moderate number of hotels compared to other member states
  • Home to many EU agencies
Bucharest, Romania

 

  • Low cost of living
  • International and national airports
  • Proposed building has adjacent conference hall
  • Proposed new transport line for EMA staff/delegates
  • Does not host any EU agencies
  • Increasing economic growth
  • Moderate number of hotels compared to other potential locations
  • Lower number of international schools
  • Limited job opportunities for partners
  • Somewhat small science base & R&D expenditure
  • Lower air transport infrastructure quality
  • Somewhat lower political stability
Helsinki, Finland

 

  • Good network for air travel and intra-city travel
  • Choice of suitable buildings for agency
  • Close to the airport, good air transport infrastructure quality
  • Very good quality of life rating
  • English language is commonly spoken
  • Decent hotel capacity
  • Reasonable job prospects for spouses
  • Politically stability
  • Higher cost of living
  • Low number of international schools
  • Already host to one science-based EU agency
  • Meeting room in potential buildings possibly limited
Sofia, Bulgaria

 

  • Low cost of living
  • International airport
  • Does not host any EU agencies
  • Increasing economic growth
  • Low number of international schools
  • Moderate number of hotels compared to other member states
  • Moderate science base, but lower R&D expenditure
  • Moderate air transport infrastructure quality
  • Somewhat low political stability
Zagreb, Croatia

 

  • Lower cost of living, high quality of life
  • English widely spoken
  • Proposed EMA building is ready for use
  • Does not host any EU agencies
  • Becoming more politically stable, with a low risk of instability
  • Lower number of hotels available
  • Somewhat small science base & R&D expenditure
  • Moderate air transport infrastructure quality

 

We will continue our analysis of other contender cities in the coming months, prior to the announcement of the future location of the EMA in November.

Brexit will have a significant impact on the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry.  We are starting to work with companies to help them understand and prepare for the potential impact of Brexit.  If you would like our help to navigate the Brexit maze, please contact one of our regulatory or pharmacovigilance team members.

Data sources

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/policies/relocation-uk-based-agencies/ema/

http://www.greatercph.com/a-way-of-life/about/location-comparison#

https://ec.europa.eu/eures/main.jsp?catId=8626&acro=living&lang=en&parentId=7804&countryId=HR&living=

http://www.theglobaleconomy.com/compare-countries/