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January 27, 2023

Amsterdam to host European Medicines Agency HQ, Bucharest lost the race. How the news was received in Romania

The Dutch city of Amsterdam was selected by the Council of the European Union on Monday evening to host the headquarters of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), against the backdrop of United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union.

Amsterdam and Milan won an equal number of votes in the third round, so the winner was selected by draw, according to European officials quoted by EUObserver and Politico.eu.


MEPs on EMA’s relocation: Nothing can be done anymore. A failure on the Government’s part


Romanian MEPs claim that there is no longer the possibility of challenging Bucharest’s elimination from the race for the relocation of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), some of them blaming the Government and Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea for the failure.

S&D MEP Maria Grapini stated on Monday, for Mediafax, that Romania no longer has any means of challenging Bucharest’s exclusion from the race to host the EMA, stating that it is important for Romania to at least have civil servants within the Agency. “There is no longer any means of appeal. We tried that appeal, it was sent in writing, but unfortunately there is nothing left for us to challenge,” Grapini stated.

She added that Bucharest’s exclusion from the race was the result of a political vote. “It seems the promises that some ministers received did not materialise. It’s a shame, because it would have been a gain for Romania. You know how it is, when you’re a candidate and don’t win, you’d better negotiate having some civil servants in this agency, so as to nevertheless have a gain and to be anchored in the agency,” Grapini added.

PNL’s MEP Cristian Busoi blames the Government for the failure. “[Procedurally] Romania cannot challenge the assessment. The Government could have better prepared the technical dossier regarding the location, could have really made [it] a priority, could have intensified the lobbying activity and we could have obtained the result we wanted,” Busoi stated for Mediafax.

The Liberal said this is not some conspiracy meant to put Bucharest’s bid at a disadvantage compared to the bids of other cities. “The Government is primarily responsible, and blaming European conspiracies, or all sorts of injustices allegedly done to us, is childish,” Busoi concluded.

MEP Cristian Preda stated in his turn that the exclusion of Bucharest from the race to host the European Medicines Agency, after it failed to reach the second round of voting, is a failure for which Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea should take responsibility. “There’s nothing left to do. We lost, and the conclusions must be drawn. I believe one of the conclusions is that Ms Firea should take the responsibility for not doing anything rigorously for Bucharest to have a shot. She is the mayor and if you look at what mayors from other countries that filed bids did, you’ll see the difference. She is busy with something else. First of all, she must take responsibility, she is the mayor of the Capital and it was a politically important score for the whole country, not just for her. She has entirely different problems on her agenda. Unfortunately, that’s that, we lost, and the failure has a name: Gabriela Firea,” Cristian Preda stated for Mediafax.

In his turn, MEP Siegfried Muresan (PMP) pointed out that the PSD-ALDE Government is to blame for Romania’s failed bid to host the European Medicines Agency (EMA). “The blame for this failure lies fully on the part of the PSD-ALDE Government which, out of disinterest and incompetence, prepared a weak bid and failed to win the support of regional states to host the EMA. Romania had all the political trump cards on its side to obtain this candidacy,” Muresan wrote on his Facebook page.

At the same time, Muresan claimed that this failure also falls on the shoulders of those who have held the office of Bucharest Mayor in the last 10 years. “Romania’s failure in the race for the European Medicines Agency is caused exclusively by PSD and ALDE, by the Government and its Bucharest mayors, by Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea and Bucharest District 2 Mayor Mugur Toader. It is, likewise, the failure of the mayors in charge of Bucharest in the last 10 years, because of whom the Capital of Romania is far from European standards. It’s also the Government’s failure to obtain the regional states’ support for this candidacy,” the MEP added.


Dragos Damian, CEO of a pharmaceutical company: I’m sad. A great and unjust loss


Dragos Damian, the CEO of Terapia Ranbaxy, one of the largest producers of generic pharmaceutical drugs in Romania, claims that Bucharest’s exclusion from the race to host the European Medicines Agency is an unjust loss, pointing out that the Romanian authorities did not mobilise.

“I saw the piece of news about Romania’s defeat in the race for the EMA. I’m sad, Romanian authorities did not mobilise for this. A great and unjust loss, obviously politically played and remembered in Western Europe. When Romania is no longer seen as being peripheral and we are given a chance in Brussels, then we will develop very fast. But maybe that is precisely why we had to be kept at a distance, so as not to grow too fast. At global level there are three agencies that deal with everything concerning medicines: the American one – the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), the Japanese one – the PMDA (Japanese Pharmaceutical and Medical Agency) and the European one – the EMA (European Medicines Agency).

“The relocation was an opportunity for Romania, probably the biggest project since joining the EU. If the relocation of European agencies in general is a political game more embarrassing than Eurovision then we probably should no longer file bids in the future,” Terapia CEO Dragos Damian stated for Mediafax.


Fotin: Strange coincidence that the three cities in round two were those wanted by EMA employees


The President of the National Medicines Agency (ANM) stated, after Bucharest was excluded from the race to host the European Medicines Agency, that the vote was political in nature, pointing out that “it’s a strange coincidence that the three cities that will enter round two” are those wanted by EMA employees.

“I knew from the start it’s a political vote. I find it a strange coincidence that the three cities that will enter round two are precisely the cities that EMA employees wanted. It was a good experience because until now we never made dossiers for the relocation of an agency. The European Commission came and noted that everything we wrote in the candidacy dossier matched the reality. It’s true there were voices who said that everything was far too subjective, especially the presentation video. But the important thing is that we had a complete dossier and we don’t believe there is a point we left out,” ANM President Nicolae Fotin told Mediafax.


President of Patients’ Association: Bucharest lacks necessary conditions


Vasile Barbu, President of the National Association for the Protection of Patients, claims that Bucharest’s exclusion from the race to host the European Medicines Agency was predictable, pointing out that the conditions needed to host such an institution are lacking.

“Unfortunately, it was expected for Romania to lose this race, because Bucharest lacks the necessary conditions to host an institution of such span. I believe even the dossier presented was not a complete one, even though I know the authorities worked very much. Nevertheless, the EMA’s presence in Romania would have been of great help to the patients, not necessarily directly as much as through the pressure it could have exerted on the Health Ministry and the Government to ease access to medicines. We will continue to fight so that Romanian patients benefit from new and innovative treatments,” Vasile Barbu, President of the National Association for the Protection of Patients, stated for Mediafax.

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