EU top court rules no wrongdoing in drug regulator’s Amsterdam move

Staff at the European Medicines Agency can breathe a sigh of relief.

The Court of Justice of the European Union issued judgments Thursday on four cases, all linked to Italy and the city of Milan contesting the process for choosing Amsterdam as the new home for the regulator after it had to exit London due to Brexit.

The Court, sitting as the Grand Chamber, dismissed the actions in their entirety. At issue was whether two legal acts of the Council and the Parliament were in line with the Treaties on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

The process itself saw the new location selected in a vote by EU country representatives on the margins of a meeting of the Council of the European Union, on November 20, 2017. Italy’s Milan bid and the Netherlands’ Amsterdam bid tied, so the seat was selected by the presidency drawing lots.

The Italian Republic and the Municipality of Milan challenged the selection under Article 263 of the TFEU. In October 2021, the advocate general of the Court of Justice said that the court lacked jurisdiction over the decisions.

On Thursday, the Grand Chamber holds that Article 341 of the Treaty does not apply to the designation of the location of the seat of a body, office or agency of the Union such as the EMA., as opposed to institutions like the European Parliament or the European Central Bank.

The court also ruled that there had been no irregularities of procedure under EU regulation.

In addition, the court ruled in its judgment on a similar case, in which the European Parliament contested the selection in June 2019 of Bratislava for the seat of the European Labour Authority. The ELA coordinates the implementation of EU rules on labor mobility, including new trucker rules.

EU governments picked Bratislava as the ELA seat, but Parliament argued it should have gotten a say.

In its judgment, the Court ruled along the same grounds as for the EMA decision: “The decisions of the representatives of the Member States designating the new seat of the EMA and the seat of the ELA are political acts without any binding legal effects, with the result that they cannot be the subject of an action for annulment,” the court said in a statement.