Annual Report 2019

Established in 2015 together with the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI), the European Parliament Interest Group (IG) on Allergy and Asthma brings the needs of patients to the top of the EU agenda. In 2019, the Interest Group continued to engage policymakers to reflect the needs of allergy and asthma patients and better prevent the onset of these diseases.

Presenting the Blueprint before 2019 EU Elections

Under the co-host of MEPs Sirpa Pietikäinen (Finland, EPP) and Pavel Poc (Czech Republic, S&D), the IG presented its Blueprint during the event “A Renewed Agenda on Allergy and Asthma Health in Europe”. The debate touched upon many sectoral policies that affect allergy and asthma patients, with high-level insights on improving care (with discussion points from EAACI President and the World Health Organisation representative in front of the EU), embedding prevention measures (thanks to the participation of the Health Counsellor of the EU Finnish Presidency), adopting air quality policies (through the European Commission DG Environment Head of Unit), and reducing exposure to chemicals (with the views of the European Chemicals Agency Executive Director).

Relaunching the group with new and existing MEPs

Yet 2019 marked a considerable change within the Interest Group, as 17 of supporting MEPs were not re-elected or did not run for the elections. EFA and EAACI welcomed jointly the new Parliament to ensure the IG was reinstalled and to attract new members to the cause of allergy and asthma. Thanks to the IG website, quarterly newsletters and letters to the MEPs, by the end of 2019 seven new Members of the European Parliament had joined the IG, including a new co-chair Cristian-Silviu Buşoi (Romania, EPP), raising the number of supporters to 12.

To drive the allergy and asthma community priorities for the 2019-2024 mandate of the European Parliament, an event was held in November to relaunch the Interest Group. The event was hosted by MEPs Sirpa Pietikäinen (Finland, EPP) and Cristian-Silviu Busoi (Romania, EPP). Further, MEP Karima Delli (France, EFA/Greens) and representatives from the European Commission, EFA, EAACI, the World Health Organization and the European Environmental Bureau joined the lively discussions addressing the economic determinants of prevention, bridging the gap between research on air pollution and policy, and the move towards personalised medicine. 

Among other points, the participants focused on the untapped potential of prevention, the adverse role of air pollution in the prevalence of non-communicable respiratory diseases, and the value of an increased EU budget to be channelled to the research field of personalised medicine.