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Finland: European Medicines Agency in Helsinki would enhance EU’s competitiveness

Government Communications DepartmentMinistry of Social Affairs and Health 31.7.2017 14.15
Press release 107/2017

The Finnish Government and the city of Helsinki have drawn up a precise plan for the transfer of the European Medicines Agency to Helsinki. Relocation of the European Medicines Agency alongside the European Chemicals Agency in Helsinki would create a true centre of excellence in the protection of human health. The centre would also enhance the EU’s global competitiveness.

Earlier today, Finland submitted its application to host the European Medicines Agency (EMA) that will be relocated from Great Britain. According to the parties that have prepared the application, EMA and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) already located in Finland would form a significant strategic team. 

“Locating the European Medicines Agency and the Chemicals Agency in the same city would enable the two Agencies to cross-utilise their expertise and resources and create a real centre of excellence.  This would give Europe competitive advantage globally,” says Pirkko Mattila, Minister of Social Affairs and Health, who was responsible for the preparation of the application. The Finnish central government will carry out the EMA campaign in close cooperation with the city of Helsinki.

Besides Finland, many other EU countries have submitted their application to host EMA, Sweden and Denmark among these. EMA is one of the largest and strategically most important agencies of the European Union. Approximately 900 public officials are working for EMA, dealing with matters related to EU citizens’ health and medicine safety. Finland is offering a cost-effective, logistically functional and smooth solution to relocate EMA to Helsinki.

The city of Helsinki has carried out an indicative premises mapping study for the application and found four properties that would be very suitable for EMA’s use. The list is topped by Fredriksberg, an office building under construction next to Meira Coffee Roastery in Vallila district which has excellent transport links. In order to safeguard the continuity of EMA’s daily operations, it is important that the Agency can be relocated directly to its new permanent location.

The decision on the relocation of the European Medicines Agency will be made on 20 November 2017 by the EU General Affairs Council. The criteria for the relocation include, for example, readiness to immediately take into use the property when needed, accessibility of the location of the host city and EMA office, ability to offer education of sufficiently high quality to children of EMA staff, and the continuity of EMA’s daily business. Helsinki and the proposed property fulfil these criteria in an excellent manner.

Finland’s application also underlines the experiences of ECHA staff regarding their current home city. ECHA staff members emphasise their satisfaction with the Finnish welfare society and the peaceful, clean and well-functioning city of Helsinki and the nature close to it. Their responses reflect Helsinki’s high scores in several international life quality comparisons.

Finland strives to ensure the benefits and rights of EMA staff in the same way as other Member States applying to host the Agency. If the decision is made to relocate the EMA in Helsinki, the Finnish government will invest in further expansion of the European School of Helsinki. The school is now providing education for children of ECHA staff.

Approximately 30 000 experts and decision-makers visit EMA annually. Relocation of the Agency in Helsinki would bring Finland considerable benefits thanks to these visits alone.  Finland’s strengths regarding the EMA’s relocation are a high level of competence in life sciences, a favourable climate for research and innovation and efficient cooperation between academic research and education and the public and industrial sectors.

Application of the Republic of Finland for the relocation of the European Medicines Agency to Helsinki
Emahelsinki.fi 

Inquiries:

Director Liisa-Maria Voipio-Pulkki, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163 382 [email protected]

Director Lauri Pelkonen, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163 435, [email protected]

Special Adviser Kari Synberg, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 50 574 2297 [email protected] 

Director of Economic Development Marja-Leena Rinkineva, City of Helsinki, tel. +358 50 559 9183  [email protected]