EMA relocation: experts suggests Milan is one of the worst options

The rating comes from KPMG, which compared 16 European cities. Paris ranks first, followed by Copenhagen and Stockholm. Milan is 14th.

EMA relocation: experts suggests Milan is one of the worst options


Milan is not one of the best city to host the new headquarters of EMA, the European Medicines Agency, about to leave London after Brexit. This is the opinion expressed by KPMG, a well known auditing and consulting firm, in a confidential report that Londra Italia had the chance to review.

KPMG experts have evaluated 16 European cities according to a number of parameters, including quality of life, political stability, infrastructures and the importance of the local Pharma sector. The final ranking sees Paris first (63 points out of a maximum of 80), followed by Copenaghen (62), Stockholm (57), Munich (57), Amsterdam (55) and Berlin (55).  The city sponsored by the Italian Government, Milan, is relegated to the the 14th place, with a total score of 38, just over Rome, which is the last with 32 points.

“Paris, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Munich, Amsterdam and Berlin all offer good to excellent working conditions for EMA staff. In addition, they are very pleasant places in which to live, with high quality education for children, and plentiful and attractive work opportunities for spouses.” it is written in the report. The third and final group of cities (where Milan appears together with Madrid, Lisbon and Rome) “offer pleasant living conditions” according to the experts. However, moving to one of these cities “might entail extra effort to ensure a smooth relocation and seamless continuation of work at the level expected of an organization such as EMA”.

Milan scored particularly low on the quality of life (only Rome scored worse) and on political and social stability: KPMG’s study referenced the high level of corruption (Italy is 60th in 167 countries in the Transparency Global Index Anti-corruption).  Milan did better on the “dynamic and size of local Life Science cluster” (with a higher score than Amsterdam) and on infrastructures, considered at the same level of Copenhagen and Stockholm.

The outcome of the analysis will certainly be used as a lobbying instrument in the negotiation talks between the countries competing to secure the new home of EMA, but it is open to criticism. Undoubtedly, the study has been done with a certain rigor: the analysis is transparent and the criteria used come from EFPIA, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations. However, it is hard not to see a certain bias towards nordic Europe cities. The study was commissioned by Novo Nordisk, a Danish pharmaceutical company, likely interested in having EMA’s new headquarter office nearby.

The fight to secure the new home of the main European Union agencies remains open. In the background, it is not hard to see a battle between the countries of Northern Europe (pushing for Amsterdam, Stockholm or Copenhagen) and those in the south (with Milan and Madrid in pole position) while France and Germany appear less interested.  Reports from inside the Agency suggest that the Amsterdam candidacy has recently gained traction, while Milan has been appreciated for the strong support from all the Italian institutions involved (from the City of Milan to the Italian Government).

In the coming weeks, the European Commission will approve their own guidelines for the choice of the new EMA headquarters. A document of about 80 page  that will define in detail the evaluation criteria. Once those criteria are written down, it will be easier to understand which country has been more effective in the negotiation and which city is most likely to become the new home of the Agency and its 900 employees. The final choice is expected to be announced in October 2017.

read here the Italian version.