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Barcelona officially in the race to become medicines agency hub

The Catalan capital competes against 18 other European cites to host the European Medicines Agency


01 August 2017 01:36 PM


ACN | Barcelona

Barcelona formally presented its candidacy to the European Council to become the new European Medicines Agency (EMA) headquarters. Monday was the last day to present a candidacy and Barcelona is now in the running to be in charge of guaranteeing citizen security and quality of life in the pharmaceutic field through the EMA. As a result of Brexit, the European Union is looking for a new location for two London-based agencies, the European Medicines Agency and the European Banking Authority (EBA). Barcelona’s technical dossier was presented by the candidacy's technical team, formed by representatives from the Barcelona City Council and the Catalan and Spanish Governments and Barcelona now officially competes against 18 other European cities.

Barcelona’s candidacy suggests that the EMA be hosted in the Torre Glòries, formerly known as Torre Agbar, which contains more than 30,000 square meters and is located strategically in the center of Barcelona close to the 22@ innovation district.

Another point in favor of Barcelona’s candidacy is the accessibility to the city though the Barcelona Airport that moves more than 44 million passengers a year with more than 100 companies operating there to 205 different destinations. The airport is connected to the European capitals, and to Asia and to America with 21 daily flights. The candidacy also emphasizes the high speed train between Barcelona and Madrid, which takes you from one city to another in two and a half hours.

Moreover, the candidacy emphasizes the complete educational offering that Barcelona has for the families of the EMA staff, including 41 foreign language schools, 18 of which are international. There are also 321 daycare centers and 9 universities.

One of the most important points in Barcelona’s candidacy is the possible synergy between the Spanish Agency of Medicinal Products and Medical Devices (AEMPS) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Barcelona’s candidacy proposes establishing a coordination group between the two agencies with the Spanish agency taking on part of the work during the move of the European agency. To be able to take on this responsibility, the Spanish agency would invest around three million euros. The technical proposal also includes a transition office in London to prepare the transfer of the almost 1000 employees and their families.

The candidacy is also strong in innovation and research with more than 200,000 people working in this sector, according to the document presented to the European Council. The candidacy’s promotors emphasize that Spain was the first country to develop a national legal framework on clinical tests and it is a leader in clinical tests of advanced therapy medicines. In addition, the dossier emphasizes the pharmaceutical industry’s soundness, being the most productive in Spain.

The European Medicines Agency is the European Union’s organism in charge of guaranteeing citizen security and quality of life in the pharmaceutical field. After the necessary tests and studies, the EMA authorizes medicinal and veterinary products sold in Europe, and impacts the lives of 500 million people. The EMA has an annual budget of 340 million euros.  

London won the opportunity to be the first home of the European Medicines Agency in 1992 and, back then, Barcelona came in second. The Council of the European Union will decide on the new EMA headquarters this autumn, and will move the agency on April 1, 2019. Barcelona is up against 18 other European cities: Amsterdam, Athens, Bonn, Bratislava, Brussels, Bucharest, Copenhagen, Dublin, Helsinki, Lille, Milano, Porto, Sofia, Stockholm, Malta, Vienna, Warsaw, and Zagreb.



  • During the campaign of Barcelona to be the new home of the EMA (by ACN)

  • During the campaign of Barcelona to be the new home of the EMA (by ACN)