#EMA: Hearing of the Mayor of Milan before the European Parliament

| May 21, 2018

On 17 May, the Mayor of the City of Milan, Giuseppe Sala (pictured), participated in a hearing before the Committee on Petitions of the European Parliament to clarify some elements of the relocation process of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) following the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

During his speech, Mayor Sala underlined the importance of a transparent and meritocratic evaluation and decision procedure conducted above all in the interest of European citizens, an interest that now must be protected by the European Parliament.

In this context, the City of Milan calls for a stringent and effective monitoring of the relocation process, in particular regarding planned schedules, to ensure the operational continuity of the Agency. Furthermore, it is necessary to ascertain the real costs of relocation of the EMA to Amsterdam and keep the Trilogue open, pending the decision on the merits of the appeal, which is now before the Court of Justice of the European Union.

“Milan confirms not only the offer contained in the dossier presented almost a year ago, but also its willingness and capacity to welcome EMA, ensuring its relocation and operational continuity,” concluded the Mayor of Milan Giuseppe Sala. “Milan believes it has been damaged due to the opacity of the decision-making method and the blatant violation of the rules of transparency that jeopardize the correct functioning of a fundamental agency for the health of European citizens.”

The Mayor’s position is strongly supported by MEPs who have worked in the past few months to re-establish the role of the European Parliament, asking for a full involvement of the institution in future processes.

“As a member of the European Parliament and as a citizen I am worried about the developments relating to the EMA relocation procedure. If a health emergency breaks out and EMA is not ready, who will answer? We must monitor the work progress for the new headquarters of the agency in Amsterdam, and an alternative plan must be prepared,” declared Patrizia Toia, head of delegation of Democratic Party at the European Parliament.

“Furthermore, our battle over EMA will prevent future decisions on a European agency from being taken outside the European institutions, which is by no means a foregone conclusion as the European Commission, in its proposal to the Employment Agency, continues to insist on the decision-making procedure between States, excluding the Parliament, which is the true home of all European citizens and where transparency is the rule,” affirmed Elisabetta Gardini, head of delegation of Forza Italia at the European Parliament.

“Today we have achieved an important result,” said MEP Alberto Cirio, who had obtained the emergency procedures for the discussion of the petition. “The Committee on Petitions of the European Parliament has defined as “deplorable” the modality for the individuation of the new seat for EMA, because it was neither transparent nor democratic. The dossier will therefore remain open and we will make all our weight felt. The Netherlands has changed the facts on the ground and this is not acceptable. The battle is not closed yet.”

For Andrea Cozzolino, Democratic Party MEP and member of the Committee on Petitions: “The problem is upstream: you cannot ask the cities for a complete project report and then admit a defective dossier like the one in Amsterdam, which did not even include the structure that will host the offices of EMA.”

The Italian and Milanese business communities, which have contributed to the efforts to promote Milan’s candidacy to host EMA over the last months, reaffirm the importance of the actions taken at the European level. “With the Mayor’s hearing and the legal path undertaken before the European Court of Justice, the correct assessments on the relocation of EMA are being reiterated in the interest of the European Union” said Diana Bracco, Representative of the business community in the formal working group supporting Milan’s candidacy and President of the Milan Foundation for EXPO. “I support the action of Mayor Giuseppe Sala underlining the critical points of the whole procedure, and I thank the MEPs for their commitment to protecting the health of millions of European citizens.”

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