Political Bargaining Intensifies Before Vote On EMA’s New Home
In the run-up to Monday’s vote on the EMA’s future home, political horse-trading and vote-swapping behind the scenes makes it difficult to predict which EU city will win the prized agency.
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The EMA has published its analysis of the 19 bids to host the agency post-Brexit, which confirms reports that five cities – Amsterdam, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Milan and Vienna – would bring the best result in terms of retaining staff when it relocates. The agency has expressed concern that low retention rates could hit operations and result in lower fee income, requiring an injection of cash from the EU budget.
The European Medicines Agency says it could lose more than 70% of its staff if it moves to one of the cities least favored by current employees. In the worst-case scenario, the EMA says it would be unable to operate and that the regulatory system would “unravel.”
The UK government says it is on track to vaccinate the 15 million most vulnerable people by mid-February, and that a “major study” is under way to assess the potential impact of the new UK variant on vaccine efficacy.