One of the major EU institutions, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) with an annual budget of more than 300 million Euros and with more than 800 employees is looking for a new headquaters. After Brexit they will move from London, and Croatia has big chances of becoming its new headquarters. The British loss could be a Croatian gain.
Biljana Borzan, the Croatian representative in the EU parliament, is convinced that Croatia has a chance even though the competition is strong. EU countries far bigger than Croatia such as Sweden, Spain, Denmark, Italy, Germany and Ireland have already expressed their interest in becoming the new HQ of the EMA. Most of these countries have established special working groups with the only task of lobbying the EMA to move with its resources and employees to them.
A small plus for Croatia is that Biljana Borzan was recently appointed to represent the EU parliament in relations with the EMA thus she met with the director of the agency Guido Rasi and found out what conditions the new HQ of the European Medicines Agency must meet.
''Croatia is not without chances. The positive thing is that we are one of the few EU member countries that hasn't become a home to any of the EU bodies yet. Brussels requires an equal representation of its institutions in all parts of the European Union. Our advantage is our geographical position because we are located in the middle of Europe, in the central time zone which is important for people who travel from the far east or west. For example, last year the EMA headquaters in London was visited more than 300,000 by various experts'', explained Borzan.
Croatia's and Zagreb's disadvantages are poor air transport connections with the rest of Europe, whilst the capacity of hotel accommodation could also be a problem.
''Our biggest minus is that some countries have already started lobbying, whilst we haven't done anything yet. The final decision will not be reached by the EMA but by the European Council which gathers prime ministers of its member countries. We should definitely try because this would mean a lot for our tourism and would open numerous new jobs'', emphasized Borzan.
It is still unsure whether Croatia will actually start lobbying for this oppurtunity, or whether it will be another missed European oppurtunity.