EU Committee criticises proposed staff cuts at EMA

On 31st August 2017, the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) published its latest opinions on the proposed EU budget for the financial year 2018, including plans for the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Comments included strong opposition to proposed staff reductions at the EMA in the face of increasing workload and a call for increased funding for the EMA.  However, it should be noted that the intended reduction is small; just 5 posts.

ENVI stated that it “strongly disapproves” of the staffing cuts at the EMA; with no associated reduction in workload it feels this cannot fail to poorly influence their output.  The committee says that they should receive sufficient human resources with Brexit looming.

ENVI also expressed the opinion that as EMA is not funded by the Union budget, but instead from the receipts of applicants fees –the planned 5 post reduction does not take into account for the growing volume of applications and their associated fees, which could be used to offset the impact of increased staffing levels on the Union budget.

The committee further expressed the opinion that due to Brexit, the EMA must anticipate increased budgetary needs in 2018, and requested that the EU Commission allocate both staff and monetary resources to allow them to continue to function effectively, including preparing for their relocation in 2019.  It suggested that the EMA be allowed to maintain a “budgetary reserve” to allow flexibility in the face of unforeseen expenses or exchange rate fluctuations.

The full opinion can be found here.