AGM 2018: we are not only a budget line, we are patients.

On 14-15 April 2018, EPF members gathered in Brussels for the 15th EPF Annual General Meeting. The event was the occasion to report on our activities in 2017 and to glance at what we have planned for 2018. The meeting also saw the election of new board members and the approval of 1 new member organisation.

The EPF Annual General Meeting (AGM) plays a central role in the democratic and governing process of the organisation. It approves the annual report and the financial report for 2017 and the budget and work plan for 2018. This AGM also saw the election of new Board members and the vote on new applications for EPF membership.

New Board Members

This year, EPF membership elected 5 new board members. Elisabeth Kasilingam (European Multiple Sclerosis Platform), Marzena Nelken (FPP- Federation of Polish Patients), Cor Oosterwijk (Eurordis), Michal Rataj (EAMDA - European Alliance of Neuromuscular Disorders Associations), Gabriela Tanasan (ENUSP- European Network of (ex)users and survivors of psychiatry).

We take this opportunity to present special thanks to the board members who are standing down: Brian West (European AIDS Treatment Group - EATG), Dominik Tomek (Association for the Protection of Patients' Rights in Slovak Republic), Juan Fuertes (Pulmonary Hypertension Europe - PHA Europe), Susanna Palkonen (European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients Associations – EFA).

New EPF Members

We are also delighted to welcome 1 new member to the EPF family and to confirm Plataforma de Organizaciones de Patienteces as EPF full member! 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:

Full Membership:

Plataforma de Organizaciones de Patientes, which brings together the main groups that represent patients, people with chronic diseases and symptoms in Spain.

Associate Membership:

SAFE, an umbrella organisation for national and regional organisations representing a range of stroke patient across Europe that were affected by stroke.

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. With these new members, EPF now represents 72 patient organisations throughout Europe, making it the strongest patients’ voice at European level.

Looking ahead: European elections 2019

On the second day of the AGM, members had the opportunity to help us shape the key messages from the patient community to candidate MEPs running in the next European elections in 2019.

Working around key priorities like patient empowerment, access to healthcare, patient organisations participation in policy, digital health and involvement of patients in research, members shaped the key messages to decision makers, to ensure that health stays high on their agenda.

We are not only a budget line, we are patients

While closing the meeting, EPF President Marco Greco encouraged EPF members to keep working hard to raise the voice of patients in Europe. “As Seneca says,” he concluded, “it does not matter if the wind is favourable if you know your direction. And we do know that direction. We are not only a budget line, we are patients. Let’s not be scared and keep having the right ambition and influence policy to give a real chance to all patients in Europe.”