Sweden submits official bid to take EU agency from London after Brexit

Sweden submits official bid to take EU agency from London after Brexit
The European Medicines Agency is currently based in London's Canary Wharf. Photo: Frank Augstein/AP
Sweden has formally submitted its official offer to take an important EU agency from London following the UK's departure from the European Union.

The Nordic nation has been courting the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for a year now following the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, hoping to take the EU medical watchdog currently headquartered in London’s Canary Wharf and employing around 900 people.

READ ALSO: Stockholm will lobby to take EU agency and 900 jobs from London post-Brexit

Considered a major draw for the pharmaceutical industry, Sweden hopes to host the EMA in capital city Stockholm, which it argues would come with several advantages. One of those is the presence of the Karolinska Institute medical university, meaning the EMA would be offered “a research environment that includes one of the world’s foremost medical universities and the Nobel Assembly as its closest neighbours,” the official offer notes.

The offer also explains that the Swedish Medical Products Agency would increase its staff to assist the EMA if a move took place, and argues that relocating to Stockholm would create “synergy effects” with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), a body already based in the Swedish capital, saving resources.

“The EMA is strategically important for the EU's global competitiveness. We are convinced that Sweden's offer is best able to benefit the EMA and the EU as a whole,” Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said in a statement.

“The EMA is an extremely important agency for health and medical care and patient safety in the European Union. Sweden and Stockholm can provide the seamless transition required,” added Minister for Health and Social Affairs Annika Stranhäll.

In May, Sweden launched a website detailing reasons why the agency should move there, boasting about Stockholm’s public transport and flight connections, the country’s high ability in English, and also lifestyle factors like Stockholm’s nature and the Swedish work-life balance.

READ ALSO: Sweden intensifies push to take EU agency from London after Brexit

Competitors for Sweden’s bid to host the agency include Ireland, Italy, Denmark and Poland. A final decision is due to be made by the Council of the European Union in November.