We recently had the pleasure to meet Finnish MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen and the Head of Cabinet to the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Arūnas Vinčiūnas for two of our main sessions as part of our Fundamentals of EU Policymaking week in Brussels, where participants had the chance to learn more about the key steps to successfully lobby for change in cancer treatment and after-care in their own territories.

Katie Rizvi, Co-Founder, YCE:

We have now had a four-day policy deep-dive, here in the heart of the European Union, Brussels, to learn about policymaking and to meet with many key stakeholders.”

Sarunas Narbutas, Co-Founder, Chairman, YCE:

“In order to better understand what we do, we took a 360-degree look into how stakeholders operate. And we didn’t just go there and observed what was happening. We engaged in discussions. We brought up new ideas and we forged new collaborations.”

Sirpa Pietikäinen, MEP, Finland:

“I am very excited about the power and the spirit of what you have. This is a very different kind of patient organisation. Existing patient organisations here in Europe are doing great work, but they are mostly focusing on prevention, medication and treatment of certain diseases. What I understand about your agenda is that it’s much broader, when it includes such things as the future of your finances, employment and many other issues that impact your life as a survivor.”

Jeremy Akhavi, Member, YCE:

“The highlight has been the in-depth look by the experts; you can read about it, you can watch videos on it, but you can’t actually ask questions. You can’t have these in-depth discussions about how everything works. And when you do understand how the inner workings of the European Union all work, that’s when you can finally implement policy changes. And that’s a huge part of what this division of Youth Cancer Europe is all about.”

Bradley Gudger, Member, YCE:

“Youth Cancer Europe have been very generous by putting us in front of the EU Health Commissioner’s team, as well as the different think-tanks. It’s been extraordinary to get to meet all these people and seeing how they listen to us.”

Arūnas Vinčiūnas, EU Commission:

“I think it’s hugely important for all our policy actions, whether legislative or non-legislative, that the voices of patients and all the stakeholders are the first thing we want to hear. They bring the issues to the table which we try to solve by listening to them. We want to listen to the people, to those who are involved in life, who face the problems… and that’s why your organisation is as important as any other.”

Countries represented at YCE’s Fundamentals of EU Policy Making included Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom.

A special thank you goes out to our sponsors for helping make the event possible.