Relocation to Amsterdam

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On 20 November 2017, European Union (EU) Member States decided to relocate the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, as a result of the United Kingdom’s (UK) withdrawal from the EU. The Agency immediately began working with the Dutch authorities to prepare for the move and take up its operations in Amsterdam on 30 March 2019 at the latest.

EMA and the Netherlands have agreed a joint governance structure to steer and oversee the relocation project, with plans to progress activities within five work streams dealing with EMA's temporary premises, its permanent premises, staff relocation, financial and legal aspects, and external communication.

Tracking tool (updated)

EMA has published a new tracking tool showing the main milestones and deliverables for the Agency’s move to Amsterdam: 

The tool provides a general overview of the main milestones for each work stream (except external communication, which is an ad-hoc activity) and provides further detail, highlighting clearly if EMA is on track to meet the various deliverables.

The tracking tool is a living document, which EMA will update every month. For best results viewing the PDF document, use Acrobat Reader or Chrome web browser.

Temporary and permanent premises 

EMA's new permanent headquarters, a tailor-made building in the Zuidas business district of Amsterdam, are planned for completion on 15 November 2019. 

The Dutch government will offer temporary premises to EMA, the Spark building in the Sloterdijk area of Amsterdam, from 1 January 2019 until its permanent building is completed. 

This will allow EMA to gradually move all staff to Amsterdam before the end of March 2019 and ensure EMA’s business continuity in Amsterdam for the limited time until its new permanent building is ready.

On 28 February 2018, EMA's Management Board voted on a revised offer of the Dutch government regarding the Agency’s new permanent premises in Zuidas and endorsed the notification to the EU’s Budgetary Authority (comprising the European Council and European Parliament) of EMA’s intention to move to the new building. 

EMA sent its notification to the Budgetary Authority on 2 March. The Budgetary Authority is expected to provide an opinion within four weeks.

This is a key step in the building approval process. EMA can only enter into a contractual obligation for its final premises if it receives a positive opinion from the Budgetary Authority.

Seat Agreement

EMA and the Netherlands have finalised the text of a Seat Agreement, which describes how the Dutch Government will treat EMA, its bodies and its employees once they start operating in the Netherlands. 

The Seat Agreement ensures that EMA can function properly and independently in the Netherlands. It is similar to agreements that apply to other EU agencies established in the country.

The Dutch government and EMA completed the negotiations earlier than anticipated and hope to sign the agreement as early as possible, to enable:

  • EMA to prepare for a smooth transition of the work of its scientific committees and delegates;
  • EMA staff and their families to settle in the Netherlands and to have clarity on their treatment.

The Seat Agreement will enter into force as soon as it is signed by EMA and the Netherlands, which will take place once the European Council, European Parliament and European Commission complete the legislative process on EMA's relocation. 

Background to relocation decision 

The EU 27 Member States took the decision to relocate EMA to Amsterdam on 20 November 2017 in the margins of the General Affairs Council (Article 50) of the European Council

The decision followed an assessment by the European Commission and EMA of the formal offers submitted by nineteen Member States to host the Agency. 

Member States had until 31 July 2017 to submit their bids to the European Council

The European Commission examined the bids in line with the agreed criteria for the decision on EMA’s new location and submitted its assessment to the Council on 30 September 2017.

EMA published the information it submitted to support the European Commission's assessment of the 19 Member State bids to host the Agency on 3 October:

EMA made available the results of a staff retention survey carried out in September 2017 as part of business continuity planning, after staff had the opportunity to study the Member State bids. For more information, see:

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Video: Press briefing on EMA's relocation to Amsterdam

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