The European Medicines Agency (EMA) and Amsterdam’s new erotic center will “under no circumstances” become neighbors, the municipality said on Tuesday. Two of the three locations that the city is considering are near the regulator’s headquarters in Amsterdam Zuid. But according to the municipality, there is a great distance between the EMA and the possible location of the sex work complex.
A spokesperson for the municipality reported that there is “at least half a kilometer between the EMA and the locations in Zuid.” According to the spokesperson, the police also believe that there are few safety risks at these locations and the sex work happens indoors. “Without an audience on the street like in the Red Light District,” according to the municipality.
The EMA announced on Tuesday that, in consultation with the European Commission, it wants to ensure “a safe working environment for staff and experts.” The European medicines and vaccines regulator moved from London to Amsterdam after Brexit. Safety was then one of the crucial conditions when choosing a new location. On Tuesday, the EMA said it was furious about the Amsterdam municipality’s plans because it worried about nuisance if the erotic center is close to the EMA.
A spokesperson for the Europe Commission confirmed that the EMA informed it, the executive body of the European Union, about the city’s plans. Whether the Commission can and will take any action remains to be seen. “We have no further comment at this time.” EU Member States picked Amsterdam as the new location for the EMA at the end of 2017 after three rounds of voting and a lottery. Amsterdam ultimately won out over Milan. The Italian city and the government did not agree with how the process went and unsuccessfully filed a case with the European Court of Justice several times in recent years.
Amsterdam announced last month that it planned to open a new erotic center as an alternative to the Red Light District. Sex workers in the Red Light District are against the idea, the interest group for window sex workers, Red Light United, reported earlier. The organization is vehemently opposed to the move and called on the municipality to improve enforcement in the Red Light District instead.
Red Light United considers it logical that there are objections to the alternative locations the municipality is considering because “no neighborhood wants an erotic center.” Still, the EMA’s announcement was painful to the sex workers, said chairwoman Felicia Anna. “It feels like everyone wants to get rid of us. While we have legal jobs and pay taxes. One wants you gone, and the other doesn’t want to let you in. We should be treated like other people.” Anna will “continue to resist this project tooth and nail,” referring to the move away from the Red Light District.
Reporting by ANP
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