Welcome Address

Prof. George Katrougalos
Alternate Minister for Foreign Affairs

The Greek Government and the Region of Attica have joined forces in order to present Athens as the new seat of the European Medicines Agency. We believe that the combined effort of central and local government will ensure not only the seamless transition of the establishment of EMA in Athens, but also the active support of its citizens and the civil society, in general.

In an ever-challenging European environment, Greece stands in the forefront of the discussion on the future of Europe, putting special emphasis on its social dimension. The promotion of health, at the national and European levels, is an integral part of this discussion and of paramount importance, as also indicated by the EU comprehensive strategy “Together for Health” and the European Commission’s Strategic Plan for Health and Food safety.

Athens is the ideal capital to host EMA: ready-to-use premises, with all required features and amenities, an international hub, ensuring flight connections world-wide, excellent and high-quality living standards, a multi-cultural and multi-lingual working environment and education system, safety, a vibrant specialized EMA-related academic and business landscape, a plethora of cultural offer.

Relocating EMA to Athens will ensure both promoting European know-how and excellence in the fields of scientific monitoring and evaluation of human and veterinary medicines, and the uninhibited functioning of EMA and the well-being of its staff. We consider medicine both as a strategic sector of our economy and a fundamental social right. In Greece we cherish from time immemorial Hygeia; we are confident that relocating EMA to Athens will be a step forward in the quest of Panacea.

Athens can serve as the solid and fertile ground for EMA
to accomplish its mission, through its relocation.

Relocation of the services of the European Medicines Agency is a paramount challenge for all EU countries — both for those claiming the Agency’s headquarters and for those opting out of this process. For, smooth and effective running of the EMA does not concern a single city, a single region or a single country. It concerns the Union’s societies as a whole, because it relates to the greatest wealth, i.e. health. Health is a right for all citizens, regardless of age, economic and social position.

The EMA should and must continue to operate smoothly, ensuring access to quality health services. Therefore, the choice of the country to succeed the United Kingdom does not constitute a mere competitive process. It illustrates the principle of fair play in order to achieve a common goal.

This is the context for the nomination of Greece, of Athens, of the Region of Attica. A nomination from Southern Europe, which brings together many comparative advantages ensuring not only continuity but also upgrading of services in, at least, three ways: i) the provision of adequate infrastructure (whether for buildings or for transport or access to international educational institutions), (ii) the delivery of services to ensure proper functioning of the pharmaceuticals sector (iii) the provision of conditions of “well-being” in the land of Attica.

The candidature of Greece is a European candidature of mutual benefit, both for the Agency and for the European citizens, for it does not conflict with the other candidates. It is not seeking to ‘prevail’, but to serve the institution, health, and citizens.

Ms Rena Dourou
Regional Governor of Attica