Milan appeals against European Medicines Agency move

Milan lodges formal appeal in European court against EMA relocation from London to Amsterdam

The city of Milan on Wednesday filed a formal petition with the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, demanding the suspension of preparations for the transfer of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to Amsterdam.

Both Milan and the Italian government in Rome have already appealed for a re-think of the decision taken on 20 November to relocate the EMA to Amsterdam rather than to Milan, a verdict reached by drawing lots after the two cities finished neck and neck in the competition to host the agency.

In the past few days, however, a new element has heated up the debate.  EMA officials stated they were concerned that the premises assigned to the London-based agency in the Netherlands capital would not be ready in time for the planned move following Brexit.  Not only this: the new premises, they say, are in any case too small to host the entire EMA staff.

These new factors have triggered a legal step to put the relocation on hold until the appeals against the decision have been heard. Milan and Rome now demand that preparations for the transfer be frozen until the European Commission debates the appeals – clearly fearing that advanced preparations could be a factor in favour of rejecting the appeals.

Milan mayor Beppe Sala told media on Wednesday, “It seems to me that doubts about the Dutch proposal increase every day. The first step now is a visit to the Commission 12 February.”

Disappointment and frustration swept Milan when the city’s detailed bid to host the EMA was pipped at the post. One of the main elements in the bid had been the offer, considered to be a deciding factor, of the “Pirellone” skyscraper currently housing the Lombardy regional administration – a functioning office building of adequate size, ready for the agency to move in.