In 2002, Cittadinanzattiva/Active Citizenship Network (ACN), together with a group of European citizens organizations, established a European Charter of Patients’ Rights, which includes the following 14 rights: the right to preventive measures; access care; information; consent; free choice; privacy and confidentiality; respect of patients’ time; observance of quality standards; safety; innovation; avoidance of unnecessary suffering and pain; personalized treatment; to complain; to receive compensation.

All these rights, based on the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, are crucial in matter of European citizens and healthcare services. Most of these rights were also incorporated in the Council Conclusions on Common Values and Principles in EU Health Systems, adopted in June 2006. The strengthening of these rights can only become effective with the cooperation and commitment of all stakeholders in the health sector in each EU country. It is therefore essential to raise awareness of the importance of patients' rights and of everyone's responsibilities in ensuring that they are respected.

We believe that celebrating European Patients' Rights Day every year in all EU Member States can greatly contribute to this goal. It is a common opportunity to inform, discuss and make commitments to improve patients' rights across Europe and in every member state.

For this reason, Active Citizenship Network, together with civic and patient organizations from all over Europe, has taken the initiative to organize - every year since 2007 - the European conference dedicated to the celebration of the European Patients’ Rights Day, based on the calendar of EU institutions.

Over the years, the European institutions have always shown great attention and support to the European Patients’ Rights Day, whose European celebratory event organized by Cittadinanzattiva/Active Citizenship Network has always been hosted in Brussels by the European Economic and Social Committee or by the European Parliament.

The European Patients’ Rights Day has also received the attention and the endorsement of the European Commission through its official communication channels (press releases, Health-EU Newsletter, social media) and the participation in the European conference of its representatives, including Directors General and Commissioners for Health and Food Safety, who joined in presence or via video message. This has helped us to support and achieve more ambitious goals for European citizens and patients.

These are some examples related to 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012201320142014, 2015201620172018, 2022 editions. To know more about the commitment of the EU Institutions on the European Patients' Rights Day, click here.

Furthermore, thanks to the commitment of several local, national, and international organizations - partners of ACN - the European Patients' Rights Day has become a regular appointment in many European countries, which is thus celebrated each year on 18 April with several initiatives. To know more, click here.



The 1st European Patients’ Rights Day was celebrated on 29 March 2007 in Brussels at the European Parliament,with over 180 delegates from 25 countries representing the interests of patients, public administration, policymakers, healthcare providers, legislators and industry stakeholders. The Head of Cabinet of the Commissioner, Mr. Philippe Brunet, opened the event and some 23 MEPs from different political groups all spoke on the importance of the existence of a European Patients’ Rights Day. The event concluded with the commitment from Active Citizenship Network and participating organizations to push forward the institutionalization of the European Day, the adoption of the Charter, and campaign for its implementation in all countries along with the celebration of the 2nd European Patients’ Rights Day in all EU countries. To know more, please click here.



The 2nd European Patients’ Rights Day was contemporaneously celebrated in 26 countries on 18 April 2008 throughout national and local events. This conference was dedicated to the challenge that patients’ rights represent for the European Union and the national healthcare systems. It was one of the 80 events that were promoted all around Europe by Active Citizenship Network’s partners. For the occasion, the European Charter of Patients’ Rights was translated in 16 languages and informative pamphlets and posters were distributed in all events, along with buttons in support of the official recognition of the European Patients’ Rights Day. Furthermore, the European Patients’ Rights Day activities successfully received the patronage of the European Parliament, the EuropeanCommissioner Androulla Vassilliou, and the European Economic and Social Committee. From this year on, Active Citizenship Network has committed to institutionalize the celebration of the European Patients’ Rights Day on the 18 April of each year. To know more, click here.



The 3rd European Patients’ Rights Day was celebrated on 18 April 2009 at the Strasbourg Parliamentby 34 citizens and patients’ organizations setting up over 80 events in 24 European countries.Events at the national level were quite different and covered a wide range of activities, including seminars, educational workshops, information stands handing out information in hospitals, clinics, universities and other public areas. In addition, there was a final European conference held in the Strasbourg Parliament, with the active participation of the Health Commissioner Vassilliou and of MEPs from the various political groups on 22 April 2009, the day before the crucial European Parliamentary vote on EU legislature that effected patients’ rights (Directive on Patients’ Rights in Cross-border Care, recommendations on patient safety and recommendations on rare disease). To know more, click here.



The 4th European Patients’ Rights Day was celebrated on 18 April 2010 at the European Parliament in Brusselsin more than 100 European cities, where citizens’ and patients’ organizations set up their own events to inform, discuss and take actions in improving patients’ rights in Europe and in every Member State. They hung informative posts and handed out leaflets on the European Charter of Patients’ Rights in hospitals, clinics, doctors’ offices, universities and public places. Information days were held, and ad-hoc hotlines were opened as well. Furthermore, this year, children were also involved in initiatives thanks to a drawing competition on how they saw the respect of patients’ rights.

In addition, on 6 May 2010, always in the European Parliament in Brussels, Active Citizenship Network organized a conference to finalize the 4th European Patients’ Rights Day events. Over 120 representatives of different healthcare stakeholders from all around Europe attended the conference together with MEPs and the European Commissioner of Health and Consumer Affairs. To know more, please click here.



The 5th European Patients’ Rights’ Day was celebrated on 11-12 April 2011 in Brussels at the European Economic Social Committee (EESC). On this occasion, as every year, Active Citizenship Network organized a European Conference aimed at bringing together different stakeholders in order to discuss the real conditions of citizens in matter of healthcare services in Europe. This Summit has been the starting point of the national celebrations of the 2011 European Patients’ Rights’ Day. The Conference was attended by 180 participants coming from 80 civic associations and European networks, as well as all including EU Institutions and industry representatives. During the two-days meeting, rich and intense debates led up to different activities, such as the presentation of the Assessment Report on the EU Patients’ Charter, the discussion of the Good Practices on engaging citizens and patients in health policies and the award to citizens participation in health for the first time in Europe. To know more, click here.



The 6th European Patients' Rights Day was celebrated on 15-16 May 2012 in Brussels, with a conference entitled "Active Ageing citizens at the centre of EU health policy". The conference, attended by 120 participants from 21 countries, was fully focused on the European topic of the year “Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations”. As the number of ageing citizens is rapidly increasing, the objective of the conference was to demonstrate that part of the solution resides in a change of perspective vis-à-vis ageing citizens, from weak patients into "empowered users" of healthcare services, able to contribute to a better implementation of their rights. Best practices on ‘Active Ageing’ citizens in health policies have been presented and discussed. They focused on what healthcare services, civic associations and governments are doing in this area to reveal the concrete benefits of this approach. To know more, please click here.



The 7th European Patients' Rights Day was celebrated on 16 May 2013 and was dedicated to the final principle of the European Charter of Patients' Rights, i.e. the "right to participate in policy making in the area of health". The structure of the conference revolved around the ‘Directive on Patients' Rights in Cross-Border Care’ and patients’ involvement. On the former, the conference aimed at being part of a process supporting the involvement of civic organizations in the transposition of the Directive in every Member State, for a citizen-centred and successful implementation. Regarding the latter, the conference functioned as an occasion to present an overview of the situation in Europe (laws, experiences, obstacles, good practices) regarding the main fields of patients' participation (agenda setting, decision making, implementation, assessment, etc.), with a focus on participative policies in cancer care, an area in which the access to innovation and personalized treatments is especially crucial. To know more, please click here.



The 8th European Patients' Rights Day, co-funded by the European Commission, was celebrated on 12-13 May 2014 at the European Economic and Social Committee. It was dedicated to “the role of citizens' organisations in the empowerment of patients with chronic diseases”. There were more than 120 participants representing as many as 32 countries. Mostly of them were leaders of civic and patients’ associations, but also many health professionals and institutions, private companies, consulting firms specializing in European policies, universities, attended the conference. The countries represented were not only EU countries, but also extra-EU countries such as Kosovo and Ukraine, and, thanks to experts from U.S.A, Canada and India, there were representatives from three different continents. During the 2-day conference, there have been 23 speakers, whose rich and intense debate led up to different activities, such as the presentation of the assessment “Report on the EU Patients’ Charter”, the discussion on the best practices collected, and the drafting of the final Manifesto. To know more, please click here.



The 9th European Patients' Rights Day was celebrated on 12 May 2015 and was dedicated to the sustainability of healthcare systems, focusing in particular on chronic diseases, which represent the major share of the burden of disease in Europe. The conference focused on the role and the responsibility of each actor involved in the healthcare sector in order to make the latter sustainable and efficient, to create a shared understanding of sustainability, and develop an integrated approach balancing economic development, social equity, and quality of care. The role of prevention and innovation were also addressed. In this context a “Patient Declaration” was presented to raise awareness about the importance of incentivizing medical research and innovation. To know more, please click here.



The 10th European Patients' Rights Day was celebrated on 4 May 2016 at the European Parliament in Brussels. It was dedicated to the fight against waste and inefficiency in healthcare systems in Europe and on the best practices to increase the efficacy and the quality of patient care. During the conference, the role and the contribution of public and private sectors on the topic, as well as of the civic society and patient organizations, was addressed. The conference was co-hosted by MEP David Borrelli, co-Chair of the EFDD Group, and MEP Pier Nicola Pedicini, EFDD ENVI Committee Coordinator. The participants were leaders of civic and patients’ organizations coming from 25 Countries, some of them outside the European Union, such us Albania, Russia, Macedonia, Switzerland. With them were also many representatives and leaders of 18 networks at EU level, professionals and experts, companies and providers, public relation agencies and other relevant stakeholders. During the conference, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis participated by delivering a speech. To read it, please click here. To know more about the 10th EPRD, please click here.



The 11th European Patients' Rights Day was celebrated on 10 May 2017 at the European Parliament in Brussels. The aim of the multistakeholder conference was to discuss, inform and suggest new approaches to the existing European and national medicines regulatory systems, for a better management of the right to access to innovation, essential for defining the quality of life of patients and of the healthcare services provided. National experiences of the management of innovation and the importance on the involvement of patients’ organizations in the regulatory processes were highlighted as a way to ensure an equitable, timely, and suitable access to innovation. The event was an occasion to debate upon and ultimately take commitments on the improvement of the respect of patients’ rights and their involvement in the policy-making and regulatory processes at the national and European level. To know more, please click here.



The 12th European Patients' Rights Day was celebrated on 23 May 2018 at the European Parliament in Brussels. The event was an occasion to foster communication among different partners in the healing and caring process to improve adherence to treatments, and to take commitments to increasing the respect of patients’ rights and their involvement as fundamental active partners with health professionals in their own care. Starting from concrete experiences, good and bad practices, the conference provided patient associations, healthcare professionals, scientists, pharmacists, industry and representatives of national and European institutions with the opportunity to work together in identifying the main changes that are necessary to face the challenge of non-adherence to treatment plans, stressing the importance of a collaborative approach transforming “therapeutic adherence” to a “therapeutic alliance”. To know more, please click here.



The 13th European Patients' Rights Day was celebrated on 9-10 April 2019 at the European Parliament in Brussels. The event was dedicated to the topic of digital health and personalized medicine, with the aim to share innovative approaches with a positive socioeconomic impact on public health, ultimately disseminating clear and concrete messages with regards to the role of the advocacy associations committed to the protection of citizens’ rights in the framework of digital health and personalized medicine.|
During the first day of the conference, citizens were placed at the center of health policies and their expectations about health issues, including health promotion & disease prevention, the value of and access to innovation, as well as the challenges for Health in EU 2019 -2024, were debated.
During its second day, the event also analyzed the current and future commitment of the institutions and of the major European players on the topic, highlighting from a civic perspective the benefits that the EU could offer to patients, and called for the European Commission, the European Parliament and all its Member States, to help improve the regulatory environment so that patients can have early access to personalized medicine. To know more, please click here and here.



The 14th European Patients' Rights Day was celebrated on 18-19 November 2020 as a digital event. The multi-stakeholder conference was dedicated to the topic of the fight against antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and to the importance of citizens’ engagement for a multi-stakeholder action. In line with the topic of healthcare systems’ sustainability, the event started from concrete examples and experiences coming from different countries, involving the point of view of patients and civic associations, EU Institutions and experts, health professionals, public and private bodies, and contributed to the policy debate on how to achieve a more sustainable healthcare framework. To know more, please click here.



The 15th European Patients' Rights Day was celebrated on 5-6 May 2021 as a virtual event. With its traditional format of a big multi-stakeholder conference, it focused on the importance of the citizens’ organizations’ engagement in health policies and of a multisectoral approach to take action on cross-border health threats, both present and future. The first day was dedicated to the health challenges faced by non-COVID patients, and the second was focused on the resilience of healthcare systems and the national immunization plans. One of the main objectives of the conference was to gather insights to feed EU initiatives, exchange and discuss different experiences, good practices and more effective solutions – from a civic point of view – in overcoming the challenges of this historical moment for the global health, providing leaders of patient associations and advocacy groups the opportunity to attend an EU debate and keep them up to date about the topic and increasing the society-wide participation and uptake, engaging all stakeholders to fulfil the ambitions towards a European Health Union. To know more, please click here.



The 16th European Patients' Rights Day was celebrated on 20-21 April 2022 as a digital conference. The multi-stakeholder conference focused on the role played by key actors in the decision-making process on health priorities. The 2022 conference had a twofold structure: a first day, dedicated to the presentation to the EU Institutions of the outputs of the themes that emerged from health-related initiatives organized in the framework of the Conference on the Future of Europe; and a second day, focused on analysing the actual level of citizen involvement by the Member States close to the approval by the European Commission of most of the NRRPs and their implementation at national level. The main objective of the event was to give the leaders of civic associations and patient advocacy groups the opportunity to participate in an EU debate and to provide recommendations on how to best achieve the ambitions set out for realizing a European Health Union. To know more, please click here.

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