In safe hands – Helsinki
Ticks All the Boxes
The most crucial criterion for transferring the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to its new location is the ability to affect a smooth transition. To get the job done.
Placing EMA alongside the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in Helsinki enhances the EU’s global regulatory competitiveness.
Finland, simply stated, is known for its capacity to do just that. In our varied international dealings – from diplomatic conflict resolution initiatives to UN Peacekeeping missions – we are viewed as a partner to be entrusted with challenging processes.
1. The assurance that the agency can be set up on site and take up its functions upon the date of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the Union
Helsinki offers newly built, ideally located premises that fulfil all accessibility and technical requirements, with three attractive backup alternatives.
2. The accessibility of the location
Flight connections between Helsinki and the capitals of the EU member states are numerous, frequent and punctual. Helsinki is now the most popular congress city in the Nordic region – and is well placed to host the annual 30,000 EMA visitors. The proposed premises are less than 20 minutes’ drive from the airport.
3. Outstanding education facilities for the children of agency staff
Helsinki offers high-quality multilingual early childhood education. The city has a number of excellent internationally focused schools, including the European School of Helsinki. The Helsinki region has four universities and six universities of applied sciences that offer high-quality education in a wide range of fields.
4. Excellent employment opportunities, social security and medical care for both spouses and children
Helsinki offers comprehensive localisation services to the families of the agency staff. ECHA is acclaimed as the best example of the establishment of a new agency, with strong employee retention (as little as 3-5% expert employee turnover in the first five years).
5. Business continuity
Helsinki offers an excellent, well-situated location, fulfils each of the selection criteria, and proposes a plan which is readily implementable in the short window the situation affords. According to ECHA executives the establishment of the agency was characterised by exceptional host city and country collaboration – flexible, highly ambitious, and well organised.
6. Geographical diversity
While Finland fully respects the desirability of geographical spread in setting up new agencies, relocating EMA alongside ECHA in Helsinki enhances the EU’s global regulatory competitiveness.
A smooth transition
Relocation of a major institution such as the European Medicines Agency (EMA) requires a suitably large, modern working space, with excellent connections to both air transport and the major sites within the hosting city itself. Helsinki is able to provide exactly such a space.
The most crucial criterion for transferring EMA to its new location is the ability to affect a smooth transition without disturbing EMA’s daily operations and potentially putting European public health at risk. Finland is fully aware of the importance of the various functions of EMA, and will pay special attention to the continuity of daily operations required by this relocation. This will encompass employee retention, supporting the personnel base with an abundance of local experts, and the provision of a detailed relocation plan to enable the minimum possible interruption for each of the agency’s functions.
ECHA success story
ECHA is acclaimed as the best example of the establishment of a new agency, with strong employee retention (as little as 3-5% expert employee turnover in the first 5 years).
Exceptional host city and country collaboration – flexible, highly ambitious, and well organised.
Centralised information sharing with a one-stop shop for all stakeholders.
This was not just a technical process – we focused on the importance of helping personnel to adjust and making them feel at home, taking account of social networks and pre- and post-relocation activities.
Realistic information and transparency, leading to the highest satisfaction rates among EU agency employees.
Life in Helsinki
Helsinki is renowned for offering an exceptionally high quality of life, with an outstanding modern transport system, great infrastructure, and a high degree of social trust. Everything simply works. Helsinki is at the top of global quality of life rankings.
For a number of years, Helsinki Airport has successfully pursued the strategy of becoming the principal hub for European travel to Asia and vice versa. As a result, connections with the major European cities are numerous, frequent and punctual. In addition, the airport prides itself on the quality of its service offering, widely considered to be among the best in Europe.
Helsinki constantly ranks among the TOP 20 congress cities in the world according to UIA (Union of International Associations), reaching the 15th spot in the 2016 international ranking. Helsinki is now the most popular congress city in the Nordic region and the 10th most popular in Europe.
Finland prides itself on its education system, which has become a benchmark for other leading nations in this sector. One of its hallmarks is its accessibility in terms of language, with English and other foreign-language schools being popular alternatives.
From an international perspective, Helsinki is an attractive location in which to seek employment. The vast majority of major Finnish companies have long since adopted English as a working language. Gender equality is at an excellent level, and the market for skilled workers offers much potential, particularly in technology, media and the sciences.
A new centre of excellence for the protection of human healthCo-locating EMA and ECHA
Finland believes that the EU should make the strategic decision of placing the European Medicines Agency (EMA) alongside the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in Helsinki, exploiting their synergies to create a centre of excellence in the protection of human health.
Helsinki offers a neutral and geographically well-positioned base for such a partnership of agencies. We firmly believe that locating EMA and ECHA in the same city would strengthen both agencies’ strategies, and increase their competitiveness globally. Both agencies’ employee retention and attractiveness to new candidates would also benefit.
Synergy with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)
Pooling staff and expertise
Working processes and tools
Efficiences via common facilities and services
Creating the world’s leading regulatory centre of protection of human health
ECHA is located in Helsinki. The task of the ECHA is to evaluate the risks of chemicals to human health and to the environment. The staff of ECHA have been very satisfied with their new home in Helsinki, and the turnover of staff has been very low. There is already a Memorandum of Understanding between the ECHA and the EMA aiming to ensure coherence and consistency in scientific views. There are also commonalities in technical and organisational issues between these two organisations. More synergies could be found in various areas, for example the development of technology and especially in the area of environmental risk assessment of medicines. Finland, together with ECHA and EMA, is ready to explore further functional synergies between the two agencies in Helsinki.
Application of the Republic of Finland for the relocation of the European Medicines Agency to Helsinki