Amsterdam will host the European Medicines Agency (EMA) once it leaves London after Brexit, EU ministers decided after a vote that ended with the Dutch city tied with Milan but the winner after the drawing of lots.

Milan and Amsterdam were in a run off for the right to host the agency. Reuters reported the final result was decided by the drawing of lots, to break a tie.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade earlier confirmed Ireland withdrew its bid for the EMA in order to focus on its bid for the European Banking Authority (EBA).

However, Paris was picked over Dublin to host the EBA after both cities were tied following the final round of voting at a European Council meeting in Brussels. 

Malta withdrew from the race to host the EMA on Friday and Croatia dropped out today.

Sixteen cities had bid for the prestige and economic boost that the arrival of the EMA's 900 staff and many offices for international pharmaceuticals companies will bring.

Slovak capital Bratislava, the leading contender in eastern Europe, came in fourth in the first round of voting.

Citing diplomatic sources close to the voting, Reuters reported Milan and Amsterdam are to run off for the right to host the agency.