The Latest: Dutch eye EU medical agency now based in London

BRUSSELS (AP) — The Latest on the British exit from the European Union (all times local):

3:45 p.m.

With Britain’s departure from the European Union on the horizon, the Netherlands is seeking to take over an agency based in London that evaluates, supervises and monitors medicines developed for use in the EU.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a letter to EU Council President Donald Tusk on Thursday that the Netherlands “is equipped to provide all the conditions necessary” for the European Medicines Agency “to perform its work as effectively as possible.”

Britain’s chief Brexit negotiator, David Davis, has said the location of the EMA will be “subject to the exit negotiations.” The EU has retorted it would be impossible for Britain to hold on to any EU agency once it leaves the bloc.

The agency has 900 employees.

The negotiations on Britain’s split from the bloc are expected to start after a June 8 parliamentary election and run until March 2019.


1:25 p.m.

The president of the European Parliament says he and British Prime Minister Theresa May agree that the rights of EU nationals living in the U.K. need to be secured as quickly as possible in Brexit negotiations.

Antonio Tajani met May at 10 Downing St. on Thursday to discuss EU lawmakers’ goals for the talks, which are due to start after Britain’s June 8 election. The European Parliament will have to approve any deal agreed between Britain and the 27-member EU.

Tajani said after the meeting that “we want to strengthen the citizens’ rights — European citizens living in the U.K. and U.K. citizens living in the European Union. This is the most important message.”

He said the meeting had been “a good beginning. Now we need to go for implementation.”

May’s office said she and Tajani agreed “on the importance of giving early certainty about the status of British citizens living elsewhere in the EU and citizens of other member states in the U.K.”


12:45 p.m.

Hungary’s foreign minister says a free-trade agreement between the European Union and Britain should be part of Britain’s EU exit.

Peter Szijjarto, speaking after meeting British Brexit Secretary David Davis, said Thursday that “a fair Brexit deal … simply cannot exclude a free-trade agreement.”

Szijjarto also says that protecting the rights of Hungarians working in Britain was Hungary’s top priority, citing estimates of between 55,000 and 200,000 Hungarians there who remit an annual average of 6,300 euros ($6,780) a year back to Hungary.


12:40 p.m.

European Union Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will travel to Britain with chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier at the invitation of Prime Minister Theresa May next week.

Both sides will meet on Wednesday to assess the upcoming two years of negotiations which were triggered by Britain March 29.

The EU is fine-tuning its negotiating mandate and has said that talks can start in earnest after the June 8 snap elections that May has called.