Amsterdam will become the new home of the European Union’s medicines agency after Britain leaves the European Union, following a tight competition that was eventually decided by the luck of the draw.
After a heated battle to see who succeeds London, the Dutch city and Milan both claimed 13 votes Monday. Estonia, which holds the EU presidency, had to draw from a box to decide which one will become the home of the EMA, which is responsible for the evaluation, supervision and monitoring of medicines.
Copenhagen finished third, ahead of Bratislava in the vote involving EU nations excluding Britain. One country abstained in the vote.
“A solid bid that was defeated only by a draw. What a mockery,” Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said on Twitter.
Dutch Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra was elated.
“It is a fantastic result,” he said. “It shows that we can deal with the impact of Brexit”
Some 890 top jobs will leave Britain after Brexit, which is due in March 2019, with the European Medicines Agency, giving Amsterdam’s economy a potential economic boost.
The European Medicines Agency has less than 17 months to complete the move, but Amsterdam was considered ideally suited because of its location, the building it had on offer and other facilities.
Even though rules were set up to make it a fair decision, the process turned into a deeply political contest.
Zijlstra said that “in the end it is a very strategic game of chess.”
Now that the EMA vote is over, EU nations will decide on where the European Banking Authority will be relocated after Brexit.
Colleen Barry contributed from Milan.