The Minister of Health, Antoni Comín, met with the Spanish minister of Health, Social Services and Equality, Dolors Montserrat, and the Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, on Monday at the central government’s delegation in Catalonia to promote the Barcelona candidacy as the host the city for European Medicine Agency (EMA).
On June 28 last year, the Catalan Government had already approved the formation of a commission to promote the city’s candidacy, which was made up of the ministries of the Vice-Presidency and Economy; Health; Foreign Affairs and Institutional Relations and Transparency; and Business and Knowledge. Subsequently, on July 22, after the Spanish government cabinet meeting, both the central administration and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced their support and commitment to work in coordination with each other to make Barcelona the Agency’s new host city.
Barcelona already meets the EMA’s requirements in terms of connectivity, communications, transportation and infrastructure, and would also cater for the needs of the 890 professionals currently working for the agency and who are awaiting news from Brussels on their future. The Catalan capital also hosts many of the sector’s companies that are based in the Spanish state. Moreover, the pharmaceutical sector is one of the main assets of the country’s industry and an important contributor to Catalan R&D, in addition to having a direct and indirect positive impact on employment (21,200 jobs).
Hosting the European Medicine Agency would strengthen the economic and social development of the capital city, and would therefore have a positive impact for Catalonia and Spain. In addition to the 40,000 visitors the EMA receives annually, there is a network of more than 1,600 companies surrounding the organisations that Barcelona could host with the arrival of the agency.
The EMA, which is responsible for the scientific evaluation, supervision and safety monitoring of medicines in the EU, began in 1995. Two years prior to its establishment, in 1992, Barcelona’s bid to host the agency had already been proposed by the Spanish state in the framework of the Summer Olympic Games. However, the Catalan capital ended up in second place after losing to London.
With the triggering of Article 50, EU agencies located in the United Kingdom, such as the EMA, have now begun the process of relocating to current European Union member countries. The decision on where to move the agency will be made by the European Council, which is comprised of the leaders of the remaining 27 member states.
The Government of Catalonia, the State government and the Barcelona City Council have all expressed their full commitment to the project and are already working in conjunction with each other to win the bid and host the agency in the Catalan capital.