EU drugs agency chief says temporary Amsterdam housing 'not optimal'

FILE PHOTO: Guido Rasi, executive director the European Medicines Agency (EMA), poses for a portrait at his office in London, Britain, January 6, 2012. REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly/File Photo

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The head of the European drugs agency said on Monday the temporary space it will use in Amsterdam while a permanent new facility is being constructed is “not optimal” but the best possible under the circumstances.

European Medicines Agency Executive Director Guido Rasi said in a statement his organization had little choice other than to accept a temporary Amsterdam base with half the space of its London offices as it rushes to relocate ahead of Britain’s March 2019 exit from the European Union.

“The physical relocation of EMA to a new host country is the single biggest challenge EMA has ever had to deal with since its establishment,” Rasi said.

The Dutch health ministry specified in a separate statement EMA will occupy the “Spark” building in western Amsterdam during 2019, ahead of the scheduled completion of a new, building to house the EMA in south Amsterdam starting in 2020.

Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Toby Chopra