Welcome to our holiday edition, including special seasonal advice from across Europe for people with allergy & respiratory diseases and a special report from our first pilot training on ‘how to do a national disease specific programme.’ The EFA board and staff send their warmest holiday wishes to all members, partners, funding partners, colleagues, policy makers and patients all over Europe.
Thank you sincerely for your support & vision this year, we need you next year as well. Summing up the year: we had our fully booked Meet & Greet EU institutions training for members in March, with a new interactive session on what it is like to be an MEP. In May we held our annual general meeting and network meeting in Paris, heard about members’ projects and planned for EFA projects and policy work in our working groups. A potential new funding strategy for 2014 was approved. Our 3 multiannual projects continued to put COPD under the EU policy spotlight through a concrete EU policy initiative. We have been campaigning through other projects for equal rights and easy access to oxygen for patients travelling in Europe, as well as to take the need for a strong role for pharmacists, specialist education on allergy (allergology) and the fostering of national programmes on Respiratory Allergy more seriously. In terms of membership, EFA held an aligned meeting with Spanish patient groups and welcomed FENAER as a new member. We also visited the Portuguese RESPIRA and presented our activities. In the EU research projects that EFA partners with, we played our role as patient representative partner, in particular in U-BIOPRED and HealthVent, fostering patient involvement & dissemination. In September we organised a much needed stakeholder event at the European Parliament on patient perspective in the wake of the new EU regulation on food labelling. EFA submitted our response to the ‘EU reflection process on chronic diseases’, which presented a great opportunity to reflect on what is actually needed at EU level – for example sharing of best practice on and granting political priority to allergy and respiratory diseases. EFA followed up and prepared for the EU tobacco, air pollution, clinical research and medical devices legislation proposals, to be followed up further in 2013. We also made contributions to the work of the European medicines agency, for example by reviewing product information for patients. In August we launched our new interactive and up-to-date website, a precious tool through which we can regularly keep you updated and hope to hear from you. Towards the end of the year, the Cypriot EU presidency held a meeting at the EP focusing on children’s respiratory diseases and healthy ageing – a great way to end the year. EFA presented in numerous meetings, all with the goal of ensuring people with allergy, asthma and respiratory diseases have access to quality care, safe environments and can participate in all decisions affecting their health, wherever they are in Europe – especially crucial in these times of economic austerity.
As a reminder for our members, please stay tune for the registration information for our AGM and network meeting in Rome 31 May-1 June 2013.