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The Government of Catalonia has set up a committee of five departments to attract the European Medicines Agency (EMA) after Brexit and encourage the move of the headquarters from London to Barcelona. On 28 June, the Executive Council of the Government of Catalonia approved the creation of this committee made up of the ministries of the Presidency; Economy and Treasury; Health; Foreign Affairs; Institutional Relations and Transparency; and Business and Knowledge.  

When the European Medicines Agency was first created in 1992, when Spain held the presidency of the European Union, Barcelona expressed its interest in hosting this institution, however in the end it went to London. Now, after Brexit and with United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU imminent, the Government of Catalonia is opting to become the new headquarters and has gained support from the Spanish government to "work together" to ensure the success of this bid that "would strengthen the position of both Spain and Barcelona," said Acting Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría at a press conference after the meeting of the Council of Ministers on 23 July.

The European Medicines Agency is charged with the scientific assessment and approval of medicines developed by pharmaceutical companies for use in the European Union. Since it first took on this task in 1995, this European agency has had the goal and responsibility of protecting and promoting public health, human and animal, and plays an important role in boosting innovation and research in the sector.

The pharmaceutical industry is an important driving force for the economy in Catalonia, where the biosciences cluster has become one of the largest European hubs of biotechnology and a model of success. Catalonia is currently home to 230 pharmaceutical laboratories, which is nearly 50% of the pharmaceutical industry in Spain as a whole. Furthermore, the Catalan pharmaceutical sector is the fifth most productive in the EU-15 and drug production here makes up 3.5% of all that in Europe, comparable to the Netherlands (4%), Denmark (3.7%) and Sweden (3.6%).

In fact, Sweden, Italy and other Spanish cities including Malaga, have also expressed their interest in hosting the EMA headquarters.

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