The European Medicines Agency published a tender notice worth nearly 32 million pounds ($42 million) for temporary workers, saying it expects to lose staff when it moves from its current London headquarters as of March 2019 due to Brexit. The EMA stated Friday that it "is anticipating staff losses, which will not only challenge the agency's operability, but could also result in a major deficit in its budget."
Categories of employees named in the tender include workers with scientific, regulatory, legal and policy expertise, as well as administrative, accounting and audit staff. Following a recent staff survey, the EMA warned that it could lose more than 70 percent of its employees if the wrong location is chosen for the new headquarters, while executive director Guido Rasi has said access to new treatments and public health could be jeopardised. Earlier this month, the agency published comments on the 19 cities that have submitted hosting bids, with Amsterdam, Barcelona, Vienna, Milan and Copenhagen, emerging as top choices in terms of staff retention, while Athens, Bratislava, Bucharest, Helsinki, Malta, Sofia, Warsaw and Zagreb were among the least popular locations.
The EMA noted Friday that "if operations are delayed or have to stop because of massive staff losses, the agency could experience a dramatic drop in fee income, which would in turn result in reduced payments to the national competent authorities." The regulator added that the "financial consequences would be further exacerbated by the cost of replacing staff."
The General Affairs Council of the EU is scheduled to decide on the new location on November 20, after which the next phase of the EMA's Brexit preparedness business continuity plan will be launched as of January 1, 2018.
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