EPF Annual General Meeting: Wider, Stronger, Louder
On the 10th and 11th of April, EPF members gathered for the EPF Annual General Meeting in Brussels. The event was the occasion to report on our activities in 2016 and to glance at what we have planned for 2017. The meeting also saw the election of new board members and the approval of 7 new members, keeping the EPF family growing!
The EPF Annual General Meeting (AGM) is a key milestone for EPF members. It is a unique occasion to bring us together and discuss strategic decisions that will ultimately have an impact on EPF as an organisation working in Brussels, but also on patient organisations in their own context.
The AGM also plays a central role in the democratic and governing process of EPF, by hosting the election of new Board members and the vote on new applications for EPF membership.
New Board Members
This year, the members reiterated their trust in Marco Greco (European Federation of Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis Associations - EFCCA), Radu Costin Ganescu (National Coalition of Organisations for Patients with Chronic Conditions of Romania - COPAC) - who were re-elected in their respective positions of EPF President and EPF Treasurer - and Stanimir Hasurdjiev (Bulgarian National Patients’ Organization - NPO).
Representing the Global Alliance of Mental Illness Advocacy Networks-Europe (GAMIAN Europe), Mrs Hilkka Kärkkäinen was elected to a first mandate as Board member, while Brian West (European AIDS Treatment Group - EATG), EPF Vice-President, Dominik Tomek (Association for the Protection of Patients' Rights in Slovak Republic), Juan Fuertes (Pulmonary Hypertension Europe - PHA Europe), Michal Rataj (Polish Neuromuscular Diseases Association) and Susanna Palkonen (European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients Associations – EFA) complete the Board composition.
We take this opportunity to present special thanks to long-standing Board member Robert Johnstone, who is standing down from the EPF board after 6 years of service.
New EPF Members
We are also delighted to welcome 7 new members to the EPF family! Keeping the organisation growing and strengthening our representation by adding the voice of several countries and diseases to EPF’s, it is our pleasure to count as new members:
- BAG Selbsthilfe, the Federal Association of Self-Help Organisations for people with disabilities and chronic diseases and their relatives in Germany.
- ECHDO – European Congenital Heart Disease Organisation, an umbrella association representing associations of patients with congenital heart disease (CHD).
- HSO – the Swedish Disability Federation, representing the Swedish disability movement towards policy-makers and national authorities.
- NCDP – the National Council of Disabled People, an umbrella organisation representing the disability and chronic diseases’ patient’s movement in Greece.
- AGORA, an umbrella organisation for national and regional organisations representing patients with Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases in southern Europe.
- LUCE - Lung Cancer Europe, representing lung cancer patients, their families and survivors at a European level.
- Plataforma de Organizaciones de Patientes, which brings together the main groups that represent patients, people with chronic diseases and symptoms in Spain.
With these new members, EPF is now proud to represent no less than 74 patient organisations throughout Europe (26 national coalitions and 48 European umbrella organisations), making it the strongest patients’ voice at European Union level. Our membership is our raison d’être, our members are the backbone of our work: their feedback bring an inestimable added-value to our policy and advocacy activities. (See our video on the impact of our members and the benefits of EPF membership).
Capturing the atmosphere of these two days of gathering, EPF President Marco Greco closed the events by underlining the formidable strength of a united patient movement: “if each patient is a water drop, together we are the sea”.