23:35 GMT +315 August 2018
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    European Medicines Agency Loses Staff Amid Brexit-Induced Move to Amsterdam

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    A scale back of operations is planned for one biggest EU agencies, serving over 500 million.

    As the European Medicines Agency (EMA) prepares for the physical move from London to Amsterdam in March 2019, it is forced to cope with significant staff loss.

    The agency plans to launch the next phase of its business continuity plan until October 1, 2018, which it believes will allow "safeguarding core activities related to the evaluation and supervision of medicines" amid preparations for the move.

    "Staff who will not relocate to Amsterdam have already started to leave the Agency and this trend is expected to accelerate," the agency reported on Wednesday.

    EMA won't be able to transfer over a 100 short-term staffers to the new headquarters in the Netherlands due to Dutch employment rules. Overall, the company expects a staff loss of about 30%, "with a high degree of uncertainty regarding mid-term staff retention."

    "EMA has put in place supporting measures to facilitate the relocation of staff to Amsterdam and additional support is provided by the Dutch government. Other mitigating actions, such as a comprehensive staff recruitment program, are already underway," the statement said.

    EMA is the biggest EU institution affected by the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union bloc.

    Britain is set to leave the EU on following a referendum on membership in 2016. The UK-EU negotiations on the exit deal have started in June 2017 and are set to finish by the end of March 2019.

    Amsterdam is among European cities that in the light of Brexit have stepped up their efforts to convince businesses and agencies to relocate from London. EU ministers selected Amsterdam from 19 cities as the new home in 2017.

    EU's decentralized agency responsible for the scientific evaluation, supervision and safety monitoring of medicines in the bloc, EMA began operating in 1995. The agency serves a market of over 500 million people living in the EU.

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