MADRID – Competition is heating up among European Union countries hoping to reap some of the benefits of Britain's exit from the EU, with Spain joining the list of nations bidding to host the bloc's medicines oversight body.
Health Minister Dolors Montserrat told a meeting of business representatives and journalists Thursday that Spain believes the Mediterranean port city of Barcelona is the ideal place to house the headquarters of the European Medicines Agency when it relocates from London.
Barcelona has offered its multicolored, aluminum-and-glass Agbar skyscraper as the headquarters. The city was runner-up when London was chosen as EMA headquarters in 1992.
The Netherlands and Portugal are also among several countries presenting bids for the lucrative oversight body. The Portuguese government said Thursday it would propose the capital, Lisbon, which is already home of the EU drug agency and the EU maritime safety agency.
The medicines agency, employing about 900 people, is one of the biggest EU institutions with an annual budget of more than 300 million euros ($325 million).
The EU is also expected to relocate the European Banking Authority as part of Brexit. It isn't known when the bloc will decide on where each body's new headquarters will be.
The EMA evaluates, supervises and monitors medicines developed for use in the EU and coordinates with around 1,600 companies.