VALLETTA, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Malta launched an official bid to host the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Monday, which is due to relocate from its British base after Brexit.
EMA was established in 1995 and is the European Union agency responsible for the protection of public and animal health through the scientific evaluation and supervision of medicines.
EMA tests and licences all medications for use within the EU, with its authorizations covering more than a quarter of all global pharmaceutical sales. It employs a staff of 900 and receives around 36,000 visits per year.
Maltese Health Minister Chris Fearne said Malta had all the requisites to successfully host the agency, citing free and high-quality healthcare, a growing research community, and expert human resources.
He added that further incentives for EMA employees were Malta's high quality of life, warm weather and tranquility, as well as English as an official language.
European Commissioner for Health Vytenis Andriukaitis said the process of selecting the EMA's post-Brexit host would begin as soon as Article 50 was triggered.
British Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to invoke Article 50 on March 29, so the EMA relocation would need to happen before April 2019.
It is expected that other EU member states will also be vying to host the influential regulatory body, with Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Spain, France, Italy, Ireland and Poland already submitting their bids.