Even before European officials present the groundwork for relocating the bloc’s drug regulator, a fight has emerged between countries vying for the economic lift and status that come with hosting the authority, using perks like child care as ammo.
Some 20 countries in Europe hope to host the European Medicines Agency after the U.K.’s vote to leave the union last summer, Bloomberg reports. And even though the EU hasn’t announced its official criteria for the move, the countries aren’t hesitating to make their case by showcasing local lifestyle perks and more.
Countries in Europe are offering language lessons, local scenery and child care as they push to win the EMA, according to the news service. They’re seeking to attract an agency that could bring an economic lift worth an estimated €1 billion and employs about 900 experts.
Former Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Rebien Sørensen is serving as a special envoy for Denmark, even creating a Twitter handle, @ema2cph, to jockey for Copenhagen. The Danish capital features a “world-class research environment,” “high livability,” a strong cluster of life science activity, and “efficient infrastructure,” according to the city’s campaign website.
Spain wants to see the authority move into an existing skyscraper in Barcelona, with the government recently calling for a quick decision to help things go as smoothly as possible. Shortly after the U.K.’s vote to leave the EU, Spain signaled interest; now, it’s offering Barcelona’s infrastructure and an attractive lifestyle as reasons the EMA should relocate to the city.
Other aspirants include Croatia, Romania, Germany, Czech Republic, Belgium, Italy and Malta, according to Bloomberg.
Even though countries are willing to offer their best to get the EMA, the relocation will still mean a major disruption for the agency, which has been in London for more than 20 years. Writing in the agency’s annual report, Executive Director Guido Rasi said it’ll likely mean a “loss of expertise,” along with other challenges.
Ireland is working off of that, by suggesting a move to Dublin would allow some of the current employees to commute from England.
The decision is also likely to be influenced by where the EU ultimately locates the European Banking Authority, which will also move from London. If a large country gets one agency, a smaller country might expect to get the other, watchers told the news service.