Evelien’s Journey to Meet the EU Parliament

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Hi everyone!

First of all I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all who contributed to the success of the petition that asks for the EU to fund biomedical research on ME. So many people helped out by writing to their MEPs, translating documents, making phone calls, sharing the news and signing the petition. Your support has been immensely helpful and very much appreciated!

I also want to thank you for your kind messages and well wishes. There was so much understanding. We all know how tough the relapses after exertion are. I felt very sick and especially the day after the meeting was bad, but your incredibly beautiful messages pulled me through and gave me such joy. The togetherness was heartwarming. Thank you for that!

On the day of the meeting we had to get up very early at 5 a.m. My parents are amazing. No matter what I do, they are there to support me. My father couldn’t come with us to Brussels unfortunately, but my mother and I were ready to go at 7 a.m. Three volunteers of the Red Cross came to pick us up. They were incredibly nice and helpful and I’m very grateful to them for making my visit to the European Parliament a reality!

Of course there was a traffic jam near Antwerp, but the rest of the trip went pretty well. Until we entered the center of Brussels… That last little piece of the trip took a very long time, but that wasn’t a disadvantage at all.  There was so much to see! Buildings, trees, flags, I enjoyed it all. We passed by the building of the European Commission and I knew we were almost there. The sky was bright (almost European blue!) and it was very sunny.

We arrived exactly on time.

We entered through the parking garage of the loading bay, which was described by the employees of the European Parliament as ‘less scenic’, but it was easier with the van and the gurney. There were two assistants waiting for us and a lot of security officers. They were all very friendly and did everything they could to make the security checks as inconspicuous as possible.

Then we were allowed to enter the European Parliament! The buildings are huge. We were guided by the employees and arrived at the meeting room very quickly. Francis Martin, who is helping with this petition, was intending to be there too, but unfortunately didn’t make it.

Dolors Montserrat, the Chair of the Committee on Petitions, came to me and gave me a great pep talk!

I was allowed to speak for five minutes. The full text of the speech, including the photos that I showed on the large screens, can be found here. (Michiel Tack kindly provided a transcription of the entire meeting on Science4ME. Read it here.)

The applause afterwards was very moving. It was such a victory to be there and this warm welcome was so heartening. This applause wasn’t just for me though, it was also for you! For all those who helped with the petition, but also the patients who would love to make their voices heard, but are too sick to do so.

Rory Palmer MEP gave a passionate speech about the importance of scientific research on ME and strongly supported the goals of the petition. Martin Buschmann MEP was the next person to take the floor and expressed his support for raising the budget for research on ME.

I was incredibly grateful for the presence and support of both MEPs and the Committee!

Dolors Montserrat, Chair of the Committee on Petitions concluded: “The European Commission, the European Parliament, the different political groups will work together to support research. We will not close your petition until we can offer tangible help.”

This was the best outcome possible! The Committee on Petitions will be able to monitor the progress and hold the Commission accountable. We have found a major ally!

So the petition will be kept open! And that means you can sign it, if you haven’t done so already.

[maxbutton id=”22″ url=”https://www.meaction.net/2019/07/17/sign-a-petition-to-ask-the-eu-for-funding-for-biomedical-research/” text=”Sign the Petition” ]

 

Please send a thank you note to the MEPs who were present: click below for more information!

[maxbutton id=”22″ url=”https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-ued0C0HHI498SLCEA3R54kaECPOPv0JrdBE3dCbff4″ text=”Thank your MEPs” ]

 

After the meeting we got a little tour to the plenary meeting room, which is normally closed to visitors! That was such a nice bonus. We were guided back to the parking garage through long hallways and along high atria. This was definitely the scenic route! The Altiero Spinelli building is very impressive.

is was a day I will never forget. I’d like to express my deepest thanks to everyone who helped make this possible!

Evelien Van Den Brink at the EU Parliament

If you can’t sign the petition online, another option: 

PS. We know it’s pretty difficult to sign the petition online! The website can be hard to navigate, or the registration process too complicated or energy consuming for some. In Germany and Austria Anne, Regine and her daughter Anna have collected signatures on paper, which were accepted and added to the petition file!

Supporting the petition online is highly preferable, but if that’s impossible for you and you want to support the petition by signing or collecting signatures on paper, please find a template here that you can print or fill out digitally here.

The template is available in several languages.

You can fill it out digitally or photograph or scan the printed paper sheet and send it to: [email protected]

You can also still send letters to MEPs to ask for their support. Click here for instructions!

Watch the speech here, starting at 10:23.

Click the speech balloon bottom right in the video to select the language that you want to hear.

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