EU Medicines Agency starts shift to Amsterdam before Brexit

EU Medicines Agency starts shift to Amsterdam before Brexit
In a sign of the looming Brexit, Italy's Guido Rasi, director of the European Medicines Agency holds a pair of wooden shoes he was presented by Dutch Health Minster Bruno Bruins during the official opening of the agency's temporary headquarters in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. The London-based agency is moving to the Dutch capital after Brexit and is scheduled to move to the permanent location at Zuidas, Amsterdam's business district, later this year. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

AMSTERDAM (AP) — The European Union’s Medicines Agency has started shifting its work from London to Amsterdam in a concrete consequence of Britain’s looming departure from the bloc.

European Medicines Agency Executive Director Guido Rasi was given a pair of Dutch wooden shoes Wednesday as he officially opened his organization’s temporary offices. Construction of a purpose-built headquarters is expected to be completed in November.

The ceremony highlighted one of the significant changes already underway to decouple Britain from the EU with less than three months to go until Brexit happens on March 29. Another London-based EU watchdog, the European Banking Agency, is expected to move its 160 staff to an office block in Paris in April.

The move came as British Prime Minister Theresa May urged lawmakers in London to approve her proposed Brexit deal.