SWOT Analysis of the Bratislava Bid To Host The European Medicines Agency

The Slovakian bid was regarded by many as an outside hope in the early stages of the bid process.  It has however become ‘one to watch’ as the EU General Affairs Council prepare for their meeting on November 20th 2017.

Bratislava was initially placed, by many commentators The European Medicines Agency, however a very strong bid coupled with the support from many European countries means that it now stands very close to being the new home of the EMA.

Slovakia has a vibrant life sciences economy, albeit one that is not at the high levels of other European countries.  Nevertheless the home of Saneca and Innopharma has much to offer The European Medicines Agency in the relocation process.  Slovakia is home to indigenous companies such as : Saneca Pharmaceuticals, Biotika, HBM Pharma, Imuna Pharm, Innopharma ,Unimed Pharma, Generica and others.  It has a life sciences sector worth approximately €500,000,000 per annum.  This is significantly smaller than many of the other competitors. The bid has also had to work under the ‘cloud’ caused by the leak of the EMA staff survey that showed that up to 70% of the staff at the agency would consider leaving if the agency were to move to Bratislava.   However, as stated many times, the decision to relocate the agency will also have a political dimension to it that will not factor in any of the industrial issues.

The bid is weak from a purely comparative viewpoint.  Compared to the bids of Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Milan and others it palls in their shadow.  Yet, politically Slovakia does not currently host an EU agency: one of the criteria outlined at the start of the bidding process.  It also has the support of the many, if not all, of the Central & Eastern European member states.  This significant voting bloc could deliver The European Medicines Agency to Bratislava and upset many widely held assumptions.