European COPD Coalition

IMG_3641Today, 18 November 2015, the European COPD Coalition (ECC) organised free lung testing (spirometry) in the Berlaymont, the headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels. More than 250 civil servants’ breathing capacity were assessed and information shared about COPD. The aim of the event was to raise awareness on the condition with the staff working for top EU decision makers, so that they could understand the importance of the disease and invite, with ECC their employers to take action.

COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and is a long-term lung and airways disease that is not curable. It affects up to 10% of the European adult population – and yet very few people know about it.

COPD causes wheezing, shortness of breath, persistent cough, chest tightness, and other symptoms. It makes breathing very difficult. And you cannot breathe, nothing else matters. It is the 5th cause of death and will be the 3rd at global level by 2030 according to WHO, if we don’t take appropriate action to stop it. COPD is the 3rd chronic disease, after cardiovascular diseases, cancer and before diabetes, in terms of prevalence, incidence and mortality. Every year, 200,000 people die of COPD in the EU.

ECC listed in its Call to Action 22 measures that should be adopted at European and Member State level to address the disease – Catherine Hartmann, Secretary General of ECC said: “these are concrete, pragmatic measures that should be implemented to drastically slow the progression of the disease and better prevent it. We believe that EU politicians have a key role to play and budgets to adopt to help stop the development of a disease that is almost fully preventable. We hope that EC staff will relay this message internally.

Commissioner for health, Vytenis Andriukaitis showed his support to the initiative by taking the test himself [see picture], he underlined that earlier diagnosis is essential for a better management of the disease and highlighted that prevention, including of lung diseases, is one of his main priorities.

The feedback from people who took the test was very positive, with many of them asking for the event to be repeated every year. Others, consulted our quit smoking specialist for advice and direction, with some indicating clear signs of COPD.

If you want to get your lung tested and/or are worried that you may be suffering from COPD, please ask your doctor.

For more information:

-  World Health Organisation (WHO):
- European Respiratory Society (ERS):
- the British Lung Foundation (BLF):

Image Spirometry Here18 November 2015: Patients, health care professionals, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies are coming together to take action against one of the world’s most prevalent respiratory diseases.

The illness, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), is a non-communicable lung disease that progressively robs sufferers of breath. COPD is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide1, causing more than 3 million deaths every year2, and up to half of people with the disease don’t know they have it.

 This year is the fourteenth annual World COPD Day, an event held each November to raise awareness of COPD worldwide. This year’s World COPD Day theme, “It’s not too late,” emphasizes the meaningful actions people can take to improve their respiratory health, at any stage before or after a COPD diagnosis.

To mark the day, ECC will be running breathing capacity tests (spirometry) on the 18th of November, all morning, at the Berlaymont, the headquarter building of the European Commission, to inform civil servants working in the Berlaymont of the importance of lung health.Highly qualified European technicians will be performing free lung function tests and guiding people with a potential risk of COPD through the next stages of checking and treating.

PHA Europe CtAThe European Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA Europe) has launched a campaign on organ donation and transplantation that ECC is proud to support.

The campaign does not only focus on lungs but include liver, kidney and heart donations, working in close collaboration with other stakeholders, who together call for better awareness of organ donation and transplantation and enhanced political action on the matter, via a Call to Action.

While some progress has been achieved at European level, with a number of project and a Directive on organ donation, large differences in practices and results exist across the EU. The demand for organs still exceeds the number of available organs in all EU Member States. Moreover, the demand for organs is increasing faster than organ donation rates.

Please take the time to read the information provided by PHA European and  join the campaign.

logos for PR







PRESS RELEASE, 28 October 2015

EU Parliament vote improves measures to decrease air pollution but turns its back on 42,800 lives

EU Parliament adopts less ambitious stand than wished for by ENVI Brussels, 28 October 2015. The European Parliament voted today on the National Emissions Ceilings (NEC) Directive, setting out national limits on a range of air pollutants. The vote, strengthening existing rules, has proven the commitment of MEPs towards improving air quality and protecting public health in the European Union.

Members of the European Parliament voted to support a series of reduction commitments from 2020 to 2030 on a range of health damaging pollutants including methane and ammonia. The Plenary vote has weakened the Environment and Public Health Committee (ENVI) position, notably in the rejection of potentially harmful flexibilities on target dates, the exclusion of enteric methane [1] and mercury thresholds and the adoption of the less ambitious emission levels suggested by the European Commission. Although the vote is stronger than the Commission’s proposal, the EU Parliament turned its back on the opportunity to save 42,800 additional lives every year from 2025 onwards.


EEB challengeThe quality of the air we breathe has an significant impact on our health, and in particular, our capacity to breathe. Here is why we think the Memmbers of the European Parliament must adopt an ambitious and robust new Air Quality Directive.

(photo credit: European Environmental Bureau, Air Quality Challenge)

I. Air pollution and health

Every year, over 400,000 Europeans die prematurely because of air pollution. Air pollution kills over 10 times more people than road traffic accidents in the EU.[1] Poor air quality also makes Europeans sick and significantly reduces their quality of life, in particular in cities. Evidence suggests that it decreases life expectancy by 2 months. 9 out of 10 European city dwellers still breathe air that the World Health Organization (WHO) considers to be harmful to health.[2]