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Making our voice heard in Europe

By Jim Bennett, Chief Executive

The UK has the highest incidence of allergy across Europe, and as the nation’s charity leading the fight against allergy, we are working hard to ensure your voice is heard on an international level.

To this end, our Deputy Chief Executive Lindsey McManus and I represented Allergy UK at the European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients’ Associations (EFA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) and attended a networking day in Dublin, Ireland on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th May 2012.

It was a brilliant opportunity to meet with representatives from 16 European countries who are all committed, like we are, to meeting the needs of their allergy sufferers.  The various members of the EFA work together on topics that affect the whole of Europe, which helps us to keep abreast of the allergy developments across the continent which could have an impact in the UK. We discussed the new allergy food labelling directive and how that will be implemented across the whole of Europe. Lindsey has joined the EFA Food Allergy working group to ensure the voice of the UK sufferer is heard.  When I visited Brussels earlier in the year, I saw first-hand how the European Commission and European Parliament work, and with offices in Brussels, the EFA is perfectly placed for sparking discussions with the European Commission and MEP’s about the shortages of allergy services.

Having spent these past few days with members of EFA it clearly highlighted the opportunity we have in ensuring the voice of allergy sufferers in the UK is heard in Europe. For each patient association that attended the meeting, including Allergy UK, we were able to share information about the work we are doing in our own countries. It was clear that for the European Commission and Parliament to take action a united campaign by all organisations is the key to success and EFA provides Allergy UK with the ideal platform. Together, collectively, we have real power to make a difference.

Jim

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