The EMA has told the EU Commission that Amsterdam is the preferred choice among its staff for its new headquarters, according to reports.

On Tuesday the body warned of a ‘public health crisis’ if it moved to a location where it was unable to retain most of its staff. Following a staff-retention survey, it said the ‘best case scenario’ was that it would be able to retain 81 percent of its employees - however the results suggested that some cities would result in a staff-retention rate of less than 30 percent.

“This would mean that the Agency is no longer able to function and, as there is no backup, this would have important consequences for public health in the EU,” the agency said in a statement

Although the EMA did not go so far as to name the cities it had asked employees about, Politico has reported that Amsterdam came out on top and would result in the fewest staff losses, with Barcelona and Vienna as runners-up.

The body said it has been working on a business continuity plan aimed at ensuring that the assessment of medicines is not disrupted before, during and after the move, and that patients in Europe continue to have access to high quality, safe and effective medicines.

The final decision on the EMA’s relocation rests with EU leaders, who will try to reach a deal at their next summit in October, with a final decision expected a month later.