Fertility Europe in Brussels and the European Parliament
Six members of Fertility Europe, from the ExCo, COMM and POLI working groups, were in Brussels on Monday 26 September and Tuesday 27 September.
Monday was primarily spent on learning about the workings of the European Parliament and how lobbying – not a dirty word in this setting, but rather just a description of what’s being done, presenting and advocating for a cause or topic be it on behalf of a patient association such as ours or industry – works within its walls. This involves finding allies or someone who’s interested in the topic you’re presenting, preferably from different political parties, asking them to submit written questions or possibly organising committee debates on the topic and then taking it further.
Some time was also spent on learning how to use social media – mainly Twitter, as it seems to be one of the most used tools of MEPs.
On Tuesday, Satu Rautakallio-Hokkanen, Elín Einarsdóttir, and Irina Popova, had meetings with a MEP as well as with a number of political advisors to various other MEPs. The primary reason for doing so was to discuss a European Policy Audit on Fertility that’s being done at the moment. All of the people we talked to were interested in Fertility Europe and some were very happy and keen to help us reach our goals. In addition we were also given some practical advice on how to promote our issues in the European Parliament.
The European Policy Audit on Fertility is the first of its kind and the only one that will give an overview of the laws, rules and regulations related to MAR in the EU28, as well as an in depth view of 9 European countries: UK, Spain, Germany, Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, Sweden, France and Italy. Another important aspect of this work is that both European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) and Fertility Europe – professionals and patients – are behind it and both views are represented, but the work is being done by Burson-Marstellar through an unrestricted grant from Merck. The work should be done by the end of the year and we’re looking towards a launch event in the first quarter of 2017.