Barcelona pulls out the stops for EU medicines agency

Barcelona hopes its iconic Torre Agbar will enhance its chances of securing the medicines agency after Brexit. [Marisa Estivill/ Shutterstock]

Barcelona’s mayor and Spain’s health minister have agreed to work together to bring the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to the Catalan capital. EURACTIV Spain reports.

At a Friday meeting (21 April), Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau, health minister Dolors Montserrat and Catalonian health official Antoni Comín agreed that the Catalan city should bid for the agency and that the iconic Torre Agbar should host it.

The representatives from the three levels of government have agreed a deal with the private owner of the 38-storey skyscraper, which has been chosen in order to add “a new impulse to Barcelona’s bid”.

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The plan insists that the tower meets all the technical requirements needed to host the EMA and that the estimated 900 workers that would need to relocate from London could be easily accommodated.

Torre Agbar’s current owners, Merlin Properties, paid €142 million for the skyscraper earlier this year. The tower is one of the city’s most photographed buildings given its prominent position on Barcelona’s skyline.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has already backed the city’s plan and all three levels of government have pledged to work together to boost Barcelona’s chances.

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The Friday meeting also saw the creation of a citizen support council, which will be tasked with building support for the city’s bid.

The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the bloc means that official EU agencies based on the other side of the Channel will have to relocate.

Last week, the European Commission confirmed that the EMA and the European Banking Authority (EBA) will leave the UK once the two-year negotiation period is over. The EU executive also insisted that the location of the agencies will not play a part in the talks.

Several European cities have already announced they intend to bid for the agencies. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte last week wrote to the European Council with an official proposal on behalf of Amsterdam.

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