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Closer to Europe – EMA in Bonn

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„The new home of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) should be located centrally within Europe. Optimally accessible. Set within a strong neighbourhood. Germany is applying for the city of Bonn, at the heart of the European Rhine Region, to be the location of the EMA’s new home.“

– Federal Minister of Health Hermann Gröhe  

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Europe is an unprecedented success story. It is a place virtually without parallel anywhere else in the world, where people can live in safety, freedom and self-determination. The idea fostered by the six founding  members has grown into the Union of 28. The British however have opted to exit the Union, which will have far-reaching consequences for the European Medicines Agency (EMA). First and foremost, the Agency needs a new home.

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The European Medicines Agency (EMA) runs like a
fine-tuned machine. Each year the Agency’s roughly
890 experts meet with some 36,000 visiting
professionals, collaborating as a network via several
thousand audio, video and web conferences.

The requirements for a new location for the EMA
are thus demanding. Bonn fulfils these criteria.

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Digital infrastructure is guaranteed to be strong, fast and secure at a location where global corporations like Telekom and Deutsche Post DHL Group have their headquarters, along with federal ministries and authorities,  UN secretariatsand numerous research institutes. Roughly 10,000 people work in the IT industry in Bonn, which according to a study by the EU Commission ranks number 4 nationwide and number 12 Europe-wide as an IT location. Digital infrastructure that meets the demanding requirements of the EMA, conforming with all desired standards, would be realised within
the given time period.

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Healthcare is the leading sector in the region as its primary economic engine and innovation driver. A creator of jobs for tens of thousands. Accordingly, a host of global enterprises, specialised SMEs, top research institutes, regulators and associations are active on both shores of the Rhine, but crucially they work together. A region that looks to the future.

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Germany, France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands – in this virtually boundless region, workers, goods, services and recreation options extend and flow across borders, creating limitless opportunities.

In Germany North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse are Germany’s leading federal states in the chemicals industry.

 Healthcareis a key economic sector in the European Rhine Region as its primary growth engine and driver of innovation.

Further information:
Service portal of the City of Bonn
 Service portal of the Regional Administration of Cologne
 Economy location
 Region-specific economy data Cologne/Bonn
 Recreational activities

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Bonn is booming – you can see it everywhere. Especially when out on the streets, for the city’s population is greater and more diverse now than before the Bundestag relocation. Since 1991, more than 90 national and international firms and institutions have moved into the Bundesviertel, the former seat of the German federal government. These organisations brought with them over 45,000 jobs.

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No one represents  Bonnbetter than Ashok Sridharan, the son of a Bonn native and an Indian diplomat, who embodies local pride with genuine internationalism. Mayor Sridharan takes us on a tour of the city.

Bonn is a beautiful and a strong city. Federal City status means that Bonn remains the second political centre of the Federal Republic of Germany and a seat of ministries, thus it is by no means a “town like any other”. Our Golden Book bears the signatures of John F. Kennedy, Pope John Paul II and Queen Elizabeth.

We are honoured today to have people from 179 nations here who have chosen Bonn as the place they want to live. These individuals work for prominent research institutes, the United Nations and global corporations. The hundreds of thousands of conference visitors who come here every year appreciate the city as a very well-accessible and highly modern meeting venue, which is why we will soon be hosting 20,000 attendees of the UN Climate Conference.

You will doubtless have read in the feature piece about
Bonn’s outstanding global reputation as a healthcare
centre, and that the BfArM, a leading national approval
regulator, is offering comprehensive relocation assistance.

To that I would add my promise of the full support of the city of Bonn with the EMA’s relocation. It would be our pleasure indeed! Welcoming others is ingrained in the Rhineland mentality and culture. Being accomplished at making people from other countries feel at home here, we will ensure that everything is right for the EMA, from the tens of thousands of square metres of office space needed to finding spaces at eight international daycare centres for employees’ children. You have my assurance that a dedicated department will be formed within our administration specifically for that purpose.

The EMA will be right at home amongst us.

Ashok Sridharan – Mayor of Bonn

Further information:
Official Website of the City of Bonn

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You will find detailed information on all topics in the magazine "EMA IN BONN - CLOSER TO EUROPE".

 Download original double-sided PDF
 Download one-sided PDF for mobile readability

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This website is published by:
The Federal Ministry of Health (Bundesministerium für Gesundheit, BMG)

Primary Office: Rochusstraße 1, 53123 Bonn
Secondary Office: Friedrichstraße 108, 10117 Berlin (Mitte)

Telephone: 030 18441-0 (local rate nationwide)
Fax: 030 18441-4900
E-mail: poststelle@bmg.bund(dot)de

For further information regarding Bonn’s EMA candidacy please contact: closer-to-europe@bmg.bund(dot)de

Responsible contact person press:
Press spokeswoman Katja Angeli

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If you are a journalist, please contact our Press Office:

Press Spokesperson/
Head of Unit Press & Internet
Katja Angeli

Federal Ministry of Health
Press Office (Pressestelle)
Friedrichstraße 108
10117 Berlin

: 030-18441-2442 oder -2225 (nationwide at local rates)

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The Federal Republic of Germany is submitting the City of Bonn, located in the European Rhine Region, with the theme “Closer to Europe” to the European Union as a candidate for the headquarters of the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Federal Minister of Health Hermann Gröhe:
“The European Medicines Agency has developed into a guardian of medication safety, and thus also of patient safety within the EU. Despite its necessary relocation, the Agency must be in a position to seamlessly continue its important work for the benefit and the protection of EU citizens. In the marketing authorisation procedure, the EMA relies on close corporation with the national licensing authorities. With the internationally renowned Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices in Bonn, the Paul Ehrlich Institute in Langen, near Frankfurt am Main, and the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care in Cologne, if it relocates to Germany, the EMA would have concentrated expertise and strong national partners it can rely on, all in close proximity. Bonn's pre-eminent scientific and economic environment makes it a prime location for the European Medicines Agency.”

Premier of the Land of North-Rhine-Westphalia, Armin Laschet: “Bonn would be a great asset to the EMA, and the EMA would be a great asset to Bonn. Due to its location at the centre of Europe and its excellent environment, the Federal City is ideal as the location for the European Medicines Agency and for its staff members, too. The Government of the Land North-Rhine-Westphalia firmly advocates Bonn’s application to become the location of EMA’s new home.”

Head Mayor of Bonn, Ashok Sridharan:

“We have impressive arguments why the EMA should relocate to the City of Bonn. After all, Bonn has an excellent reputation as a health location and, as Germany's United Nations city, the international infrastructure that the EMA requires. We are ready and willing to provide whatever support is needed to bring the EMA to Bonn.”

As a strong health and pharmaceutical location, situated at the centre of the European Rhine Region and at the heart of Europe, Bonn fulfils all of the prerequisites for the EMA to continue its work seamlessly and successfully.  

Good transport connections by plane, rail and car to neighbouring European countries, and excellent international connections, make this location easy to reach and afford employees the greatest possible flexibility. International companies as well as the offices of 20 different United Nations organisations already use Bonn as a strong central location in the middle of Europe.  

Short distances within the city itself, a well-positioned labour market, inexpensive housing by European comparison, international schools and childcare, a wealth of recreational and cultural opportunities close by, together provide the best possible prerequisites for EMA employees and their families.

In addition to the official candidacy around the theme "Closer to Europe", the website and the magazine for the candidacy show why Bonn, located as it is at the heart of Europe, is an excellent location for the EMA.

Great Britain's decision to leave the European Union means that a new home must be found for the EMA, which currently has its headquarters in London. The official deadline for applications is 31st July 2017. The decision regarding the EMA's future location is expected to be made by the European Council in November.

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1. Bonn is located at the centre of Europe and is easily accessible
The city is situated at the intersection of three Federal Länder: North-Rhine/Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse, in the region where the borders of Belgium, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands meet. Three international airports are within close proximity: Cologne/Bonn, Düsseldorf and Frankfurt am Main. Important European and international destinations can also be reached easily and quickly by plane, train or car.  

2. The European Rhine Region is an important health location
Bonn is the headquarters of the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM), the largest and most important licensing authority for medicinal products in Europe. The Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) in Cologne is also in close proximity. The Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI) is located in Langen, just outside Frankfurt. Numerous pharmaceutical companies are also situated in the European Rhine Region.  

3. Bonn is a pre-eminent scientific and medical location
The University of Bonn is one of the city's most significant facilities, along with the Bonn University Hospital, the Bonn Pharma Centre and the Institute for Patient Safety. In the Land of North-Rhine/Westphalia, a total of 14 Fraunhofer Institutes, 12 Max Planck Institutes and 10 Leibniz Institutes conduct research and development in the extramural health and life-science sector.  

4. Bonn is an international city
Bonn is a UN City – 20 different UN organisations, with some 1,000 employees have already discovered Bonn to be a strong central location in Europe. A number of internationally operating companies, such as the Deutsche Post DHL Group and the Deutsche Telekom AG, already have their headquarters in Bonn. International kindergartens and schools contribute to the city's cosmopolitan flair.  

5. Bonn offers a high quality of life
Short distances within the city itself, a well-positioned labour market, inexpensive housing by European comparison, good education and childcare facilities, excellent healthcare conspire with a wealth of recreational opportunities, and a beautiful natural and delightful cultural landscape, to provide the best possible living and working conditions for the EMA's employees and their families.

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Bonn has a great deal of experience with helping the
employees of international firms and organisations take their first step into the Rhine region and is providing a Welcome service staffed by specially selected personnel dedicated to working as a team to assist EMA employees and their families.

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After London, prices could only be lower, right? Perhaps, but with Bonn the answer is ‘definitely’ when it comes to the cost of living. Housing prices are low by international and national comparison.

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As proven by crime statistics Bonn is one of the safest cities in Germany and combines the safe living environment with top-quality medical care.

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In the European Rhine Region, the EMA and its multinational workforce will enjoy working in an international, open and cosmopolitan environment. The robust expat community of helpful individuals brings the city’s international residents together with a  Bonn Expatevent series held several times a year.

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Bonn is the global sustainability capital, the blue and white flag of the United Nations was hoisted,  from the large  UN Climate Secretariatto the modest-sized  UNEP/EUROBATS. A centre of excellence for environment and development with world standing Bonn will be hosting the World Climate Conference in November.

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Be it culinary treats, fashions or cultural offerings – there is little that cannot be had in Bonn or the surrounding area. The Beethoven Orchestra is one of Germany’s most prominent orchestras and the city's  Museum Mileattracts millions of art and history enthusiasts every year.

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A top location in Bonn’s coveted Bundesviertel district opposite the former Chancellery, in close proximity to the United Nations, the ultra-modern World Conference Center Bonn and the museum quarter. Access is ideal, with the central train station just five minutes away by tram or bus. The address for this potential future home of the EMA: Bundeskanzlerplatz 2–10.

Up to 110,000 sqm of office space can be rapidly created on the spacious property Friedrich-Ebert-Allee 144. The facility to be newly built for the EMA would be a 17-storey tower surrounded by six-storeyed buildings. The building will meet the highest standards for energy efficiency, sustainability, disabled access and IT and media technology.

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As one of the EU’s most important regulatory authorities the  Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices(BfArM), is already actively cooperating with the EMA in all key areas relating to drug approval and safety.

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The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) in Bonn is one of Europe’s leading medical approval authorities. In an interview, BfArM Executive Director Prof. Dr. Karl Broich explains the factors that will enable the EMA to successfully continue its work on the Rhine.

Professor Broich, in what ways do the BfArM and the EMA cooperate?

The BfArM, one of the EU’s most important regulatory authorities, is already actively cooperating with the EMA in all key areas relating to drug approval and safety. In partnership with the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI), responsible for vaccines and biomedical pharmaceuticals, our 480+ experts contribute their knowledge as members of roughly 130 scientific committees of the EMA. We thus substantially contribute to patient care in Europe by ensuring pharmaceutical safety and effectiveness.

In what way exactly are the responsibilities divided up
between the two organisations?

The EMA is responsible for administrative coordination
of approval procedures; the scientific work is in the hands of the experts from the Member States. The BfArM plays a top-level role in nearly all European procedures, for example in leading approval and risk assessment procedures, in planning for paediatric drug testing, in procedures for rare diseases and in advising university institutions and start-ups on the development of promising new drugs.

The BfArM was again one of the most frequently chosen authorities for approval procedures in 2016, consolidating the organisation’s position in Europe. We were involved in 438 procedures as a “Concerned Member State”, putting us in the lead in Europe. And we led 233 procedures as “Reference Member State”, processing nearly half of all mutual recognition procedures for drug approvals in multiple Member States. The BfArM was also principally responsible for one-third of decentralised drug approval procedures for the entire European economic area. For our staff, close and successful collaboration with our European colleagues is now a matter of course.

How can Bonn as the EMA location improve pharmaceutical treatment in Europe?

Post-Brexit, i.e. when the British regulatory authority which has played a highly significant role in the past is no longer involved, the number of procedures will significantly rise, particularly in Germany. Cooperation between the EMA and BfArM is already being further intensified in recognition of this fact.

Additionally, relocation of the EMA will have substantial consequences on the Agency’s staffing. Regretfully, many key experts will likely depart the EMA. In the interest of European patients however, this may in no way be allowed to result in delays in the availability of new medicines or decreased vigour in the assessment of risks connected with drugs already approved. The EMA thus crucially depends on close cooperation and extensive dialogue with a large national regulatory authority, such as has been the case between the EMA and the British regulatory authority. The Agency’s new location must therefore be in close proximity to such an authority capable of contributing proven expertise.

The BfArM, together with the PEI close by, can provide the EMA with the kind of competent support it requires, which makes Bonn ideal as the new location.

Does having such neighbours deliver long-term advantages?

Tremendous advantages. The innovation offices of the EMA, BfArM and PEI could optimally cooperate to facilitate the discovery of promising new drugs early on in the process. In particular, the EMA having close access to a high-performing national authority could benefit the new programmes “Adaptive Pathways” and “PRIME”, aimed at accelerating the availability of new treatment options. The EMA would be able to address urgent safety issues with maximum efficiency and effectiveness through measures made possible by direct interaction with German experts. The BfArM is furthermore active in the Council for International Organisations of Medical Sciences, which operates under the umbrella of the WHO, and thus the UN. As a UN city, Bonn offers additional proximity advantages. There are many decisive factors that speak for Bonn as new location for the EMA. Bonn would mean short distances and excellent support for the EMA as part of an ideal environment for regulatory and scientific expertise. The conditions are optimal here for focused work in the interest of promoting new treatment options and enhancing drug safety in Europe.

In what precise ways can the BfArM assist with the move?

In the interest of pharmaceutical treatment and patient safety, the highest priority in the relocation phase must be to ensure the EMA’s continuing ability to operate at the same high level without interruption or compromise. In its own move from Berlin to Bonn the BfArM gained extensive experience in ensuring a smooth relocation for a large regulatory authority. There will be staffing and logistical challenges to be overcome, and there can be no information technology disruptions. The BfArM will gladly share its experience and provide valuable support to facilitate the EMA’s move. The high-level expertise of our staff in Bonn can be effectively drawn on to mitigate issues relevant to European drug regulation expected to arise in connection with Brexit and the relocation.

The BfArM has already promised the EMA concrete support for when cooperation with the British regulatory authority ends, taking on additional procedures. The EMA and BfArM have already stepped up their cooperation on important developments, moving forward with intensity on matters like the new regulations on clinical trials and related requirements such as setting up EU databases. I myself, as Management Board Chairman of EU Telematics, have been working with our experts to ensure the implementation of innovative IT solutions for the drug approval process. The enormous untapped potential from this already close cooperation can be better realised for the good of Europe if the EMA moves to Bonn.

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Germany’s second major national approval authority, the  Paul Ehrlich Institute(PEI), specialises in vaccines and biomedicine, and is likewise at the ready to ensure that innovative drugs reach patients in Europe after Brexit as quickly as before.

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Vaccines for Ebola, malaria and dengue fever, securing a record level of external funding, CAR-T cells re-programmed in situ to kill cancer cells – the list of achievements PEI Executive Director Prof. Klaus Cichutek was able to present in the Institute’s annual report was a long one. The facts and figures that tell the story of this success are down to the Institute’s 800 staff members.

Paul Ehrlich and the few collaborators who founded the Institute in 1896 initially worked out of a cramped space in a former bakery in Steglitz, outside Berlin. Today, the internationally renowned federal institute is located in Langen near Frankfurt, a mere hour and a half away from Bonn. The Institute researches, evaluates and approves vaccines and biomedicines. It plays a leading role in Europe-wide regulation of these medicines, with PEI experts holding key functions on EMA committees in their respective fields of specialisation, due in part to their active research activities. As an important member of European committees including CHMP and PRAC – the primary evaluation boards for human-use pharmaceuticals – the PEI works with great dedication to steadily increase the number of approvals of innovative drugs based on their safety and effectiveness. The Institute’s myriad responsibilities include approvals of clinical trials, official batch testing, an array of advisory services and ‘pharmacovigilance’, i.e. systematic monitoring of drug safety. The Institute’s expertise is recognised beyond the borders of Europe, as the PEI has been named the official cooperation centre to the World Health Organization (WHO) for vaccines, blood products and in-vitro diagnostics.

Moving to Bonn will thus put the EMA quite close to two important, high-performing partners with a strong international reputation: the PEI and the BfArM.

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Bonn is very close to three international airports reachable within half an hour to one hour:  Cologne/Bonn, Düsseldorf and Frankfurt am Main, the latter of which is Germany’s central flight hub and one of the world’s largest airports, handling over 60 million passengers a year.

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Bonn is directly connected to the European high-speed network, and lies at one of Europe’s most important crossroads for transportation. At the nearby  Cologne Central Station, 1,300 trains stop daily headed for domestic and European destinations.

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Travelling to Bonn by car is easy from Belgium, France, Luxembourg or the Netherlands via an array of motorways. The drive from Brussels is two and a half hours.

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In Bonn and the surrounding region there is a host of attractive  job opportunities. Skilled international personnel are always needed here.

Once again the strengths of the European Rhine Region come into play, as Belgium, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands hold opportunities, but above all Cologne and Düsseldorf as the two chief labour markets in the immediate area are both highly vibrant and commuter-friendly.

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Bonn is one of the most family-friendly cities in Germany and has a large international educational offering.

Any new face from any old place will find a welcome here Internationalism is writ large at Bonn International School.

Further information:
 Känguru Online

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