Barcelona eliminated in vote to choose new host for EMA
Catalan capital fails to make second round of voting to select a site for European Medicines Agency
Barcelona has been eliminated in the first round of voting to choose a new site for the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The voting to find out which European city will host the EMA began on Monday afternoon, with Milan, Amsterdam and Copenhagen all getting through the first round.
The elimination may come as a severe blow for the Catalan capital, which was considered a strong candidate to win the bid to host the agency. With stiff competition from all over Europe, Malta, Croatia and Ireland all withdrew their bids before the voting began on Monday.
Political situation weakened the city’s bid
The British newspaper Financial Times has claimed recently that some other cities, such as Bratislava or Milano, are now ahead due to Catalonia's political situation. According to the British newspaper, the increasing political clash of wills between Catalonia and Spain in the past few weeks might have weakened the city’s bid.
A secret ballot
The headquarters of the EMA is being decided with a secret ballot vote. In a first round, each country had to support three candidates. If any of the candidates won three points more than half of the countries, then it won by an absolute majority.
If that does not occur - which is the case, currently - the three cities with the highest number of votes participate in a second round, in which each country will award a single point to their preferred candidacy. If any city receives 14 points, it will have won. If not, there will be a final round between the two cities with the highest scores.
"We have presented a magnificent candidacy, which includes an emblematic building ready to host the agency"
Ada Colau · Mayor of Barcelona
“Interested political readings”
The deputy mayor of Barcelona, Gerardo Pisarello, stated that there were already political angles concerning the candidacy of Barcelona to host the EMA. However, he stressed that the City Council, the Catalan government and the Spanish government bodies have done “good work” in the petition for the city. "Many political readings will be made, and everyone has the right to do them, but what I would like to emphasize is that the different administrations have worked together," said Pisarello.
In addition, the deputy mayor of Barcelona assured that "diplomatic movements will continue until the last moment." He also highlighted the "strong involvement of all political actors" in the process.
Spanish government has “good conscience”
The Spanish Minister of Health, Dolors Montserrat, said the Spanish government can rest in "good conscience" for the work they’ve done to defend Barcelona’s candidacy to host the EMA. She also added that “maybe others" cannot claim the same thing. Montserrat accused pro-independence political parties of not believing “in a joint project with Spain and Europe” and reminded that the EMA is “a European agency.”
Montserrat highlighted that the Spanish government has not "abandoned the Catalan people,” but she did note that "in the last weeks and months" Barcelona’s bid found "obstacles on the way."
EMA’s workers preferred Barcelona
The mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, and former mayors Xavier Trias and Jordi Hereu made a joint statement to defend Barcelona's strengths. Apart from the technical requirements, they highlighted the high quality of life, transportation connections and research work.