Bratislava, it turns out, is not London

Locating an EU agency in the east would have been a positive signal to the eastern member states.

Canary Wharf in London.Canary Wharf in London. (Source: SITA)

Bratislava is not London. This rather obvious fact is enough to explain the failure of Slovakia’s bid to become the post-Brexit location of the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Slovakia was one of the 19 countries which originally aspired to host the prestigious agency, which is currently based in the UK capital. Despite strong statements by Slovakia’s foreign and health ministries about the high quality of the bid they had jointly drafted, experts from neither the fields of medicine nor politics and EU affairs believed Slovakia stood much of a chance.

Read also:Slovakia’s loss in fight for medicines agency headquarters not so tragic Read more 

The atmosphere changed following a Financial Times report, shortly before the November 20 vote, suggested that Bratislava was a hot candidate for the post, along with Milan. But in the end neither succeeded in the secret ballot, and the EMA will make only a relatively short hop to Amsterdam.

Slovakia was by no means the ideal candidate to host the EMA, and certainly boasts few of the perks that Amsterdam can offer – from a busy international airport, to the wide choice of international cuisine that expats, used to metropolitan life, have come to expect. This is not to mention some of the more important problems, in particular the absence of laws here that would recognise the family ties of many of the agency’s employees.

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