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European Medicines Agency Seeks Funding to Cover Brexit-Related Costs for Former London Office

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is looking for nearly €450 million to cover potential costs over the next 15 years for its vacant London office, following a financial dispute with its subtenant WeWork.
Due to Brexit, the EMA had to move out of its London premises in Canary Wharf and now faces a significant bill as WeWork, amid the pandemic and a shift to remote working, struggles to pay rent.

The EMA, which signed a 25-year lease in 2014 without a break clause, now seeks approximately €4 million from the EU to pay this quarter's property costs. The bleak commercial real estate market post-COVID, with a 15.6% vacancy in Canary Wharf, raises doubts about finding new occupants for the building.

WeWork, which underwent bankruptcy in the U.S., was previously a promising investment and may face legal action from the EMA if they continue to default on rent. The situation is challenging, with little optimism of fully recouping the costs through new tenants.

As a consequence, the EMA has tapped into its 2024 budget, intended for regulatory functions, to cover the missing rent and is in discussions with the European Commission for additional funding. The European Parliament's budget committee is set to confer with the EMA privately about potential resolutions.

Meanwhile, the EMA is contending with another issue regarding plans to construct an "erotic center" close to its new Amsterdam headquarters, which the city authorities decided on in December.

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