The ME/CFS pledge for the European elections

We, at the European ME Coalition (EMEC) call upon candidates in the European elections to commit to supporting individuals suffering from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) by endorsing our pledge. Those who have signed the pledge or actively supported the ME/CFS community in Europe in the past will be listed below on this website. We encourage EU voters to support these candidates in the upcoming elections from 6-9 June 2024.

What is ME/CFS

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) is a debilitating chronic illness that causes extreme exhaustion, cognitive dysfunction, chronic pain, and a range of other symptoms. A hallmark feature of ME/CFS is a marked symptom exacerbation following exertion, which is referred to as post-exertional malaise (PEM). Many ME/CFS patients remain ill for decades and an estimated 25 percent of ME/CFS patients are house- or bedbound at some point in their illness. ME/CFS patients have been found to be as functionally impaired as patients with other chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis, congestive heart failure, and chronic renal disease.

The condition is estimated to affect 2 million individuals across Europe. There is currently no diagnostic test, no FDA- or EMA-approved treatment, and no cure for ME/CFS. Although the pathology of ME/CFS remains poorly understood, the illness is often triggered by an infection such as Epstein-Barr virus infection. Many patients with severe Long Covid suffer from a similar syndrome. Experts have estimated that the COVID-19 pandemic will dramatically increase the prevalence of ME/CFS patients and the need for appropriate care.

European Resolution

Following advocacy work carried out by EMEC including the filing of petition No. 0204/2019, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on 18 June 2020 (Resolution 2020/2580(RSP)). The Resolution lists several EU-level actions required to help tackle the impact of ME/CFS, which it describes as a ‘hidden health problem in the EU’. The text highlights the ‘urgent need to address the human and socio-economic consequences of the condition’ and notes that ‘the current underfunding of biomedical research into ME/CFS is unjustified considering the estimated large number of patients and the consequent economic and social impact of this disease’.

Contact your candidate MEP

You can help by contacting the candidates for the European elections in your country and ask them to support the ME/CFS pledge. We have drafted a template letter that you can customize to your own personal situation.

Pledge statement

Upon my election to the European Parliament, I pledge to support people affected by ME/CFS by ensuring that the EU/European Commission follows the commitments laid out in Resolution 2020/2580(RSP). This includes taking action to:

  • Raise awareness and advocate for better recognition of ME/CFS as a legitimate health condition and the need for EU-level actions commensurate with its high human and socio-economic burden.
  • Ensure the European Commission allocates additional funding and promotes cooperation for biomedical research into ME/CFS at the EU level, prioritizing calls in this (specific) area through initiatives such as Horizon Europe.
  • Promote EU-level measures and funding for awareness campaigns about ME/CFS, medical education and training for health and social care professionals, and the exchange of ME/CFS-related best practices across member states.

First signees

This list will be updated regularly (last update: 14 May 2024).

Pascal ARIMONTEuropean People’s Party 🇧🇪 Belgium
Radan KANEVEuropean People’s Party🇧🇬 Bulgaria
Jordi CAÑASRenew Europe🇪🇸 Spain
Cindy FRANSSEN (not re-electable)European People’s Party🇧🇪 Belgium
Sirpa PIETIKÄINENEuropean People’s Party🇫🇮 Finland
Frances FITZGERALD (not re-electable)European People’s Party🇮🇪 Ireland
Katrin LANGENSIEPENGreens/EFA🇩🇪 Germany
Jutta PAULUSGreens/EFA🇩🇪 Germany
Karsten LUCKESocialists & Democrats🇩🇪 Germany
Ciarán CuffeGreens/EFA🇮🇪 Ireland