EULAR Advocacy: EU Parliament Interest Group on Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases

The European Parliament Interest Group on Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases (RMDs) was created in 2009 on the occasion of World Arthritis Day (12 October) and was re-established during the current parliamentary term (2014-2019).

The Interest Group (IG) is currently comprised of 22 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from different political groups, nationalities and committees.

The Interest Group is led by:

  • Roberta Metsola (Malta, European People’s Party) – Chair
  • Dr Soledad Cabezón Ruiz (Spain, Socialists & Democrats Group) – Vice-Chair
  • Takis Hadjigeorgiou (Cyprus, European United Left - Nordic Green Left) – Vice-Chair
  • Nathalie Griesbeck (France, Alliance for Liberals and Democrats for Europe) – Vice-Chair

MEPs who have joined the IG are interested in promoting EU policy initiatives aiming to better prevent and treat RMDs, as well as ensuring the social and economic inclusion of people with disabling or impairing RMDs. The aim of the IG is to promote parliamentary actions on RMD-related policy issues, as well as to facilitate the discussion with other EU policy makers, stakeholders and experts on ongoing and future policy developments.

On average, the IG meets three times per year.

Since 2009, EULAR runs the secretariat of the IG, providing support for its leadership and all members.


Each IG meeting focuses on a specific policy-related aspect of RMDs, covering the main EU policy areas impacting on these diseases: research, public health and employment & social affairs.

Topics are selected according to their potential contribution to policy developments at the time of each meeting.

Themes so far covered by the IG are listed below:

  • Policy issues and challenges in the treatment and care of rare diseases
  • Towards better prevention of musculoskeletal diseases in the workplace
  • New data protection legislation: Consequences for health research. What EU public health policies for 2014-2019?
  • New disability law: Does it help people with chronic diseases?
  • The EU post-2014 budget and the future of health research: Redefining priorities, improving effectiveness
  • RMDs and pain: Facts and finding
  • Towards an EU strategy on chronic diseases: A follow-up of the Council Conclusions on chronic diseases
  • Social and economic costs of RMDs
  • RMDs and active and healthy ageing
  • Research trends in health. The role of RMDs in current and future research framework programmes
  • Health inequalities in the development, prevention and treatment of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases across Europe
  • European Parliament Input to the Belgian Presidency focus on rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases
  • Rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases at work
  • Research and innovation: Contributions to the next EU research framework programme


Interest group meetings



Future of health and social policy in the EU: Post-election and post-Brexit challenges

  June  Safer and healthier work: Facilitating the integration of people with chronic diseases
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Advancing disability polices after the EU Accessibility Act
Read more


2017 October Improving access to medicines for European citizens
Read more
Read the report here.

Fostering medical research excellence in Europe.
Read the report here


2016 December Policy issues and challenges in the treatment and care of rare diseases
Read more
Read the report here.

Towards better prevention of musculoskeletal diseases in the workplace
Read more


2015 November

Inaugural Meeting IG 2015-2019
Read more
Read the report here.


2014 March

What EU Public Health Policies for 2014-2019?
Read more


2013 October New EU data protection legislation
Read more
  June  New European disability law
Read more

The EU post-2014 budget and the future of health research
Read more


2012 June RMDs and pain - facts and findings
Read more

Towards a EU Strategy on chronic diseases
Read more


2011 October World Arthritis Day: New data on enormous costs of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases mobilise members of Parliament
Read the press release
Read the agenda here



Related Information

About EULAR Advocacy

EU Advocacy is a key activity for a European umbrella organisation like the European Alliance of Associations for Rheumatology (EULAR).

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EULAR Advocacy Partnerships

EULAR is committed to partner with organisations and scientific medical societies at a EU and national level towards improving research funding, social policy legislation and quality of care; assisting advocacy actions on the national and international levels around rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs).

See more

EULAR RheumaMap

A Research Roadmap to transform the lives of people with Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases.

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EULAR Policy Statements

As part of its advocacy activities, EULAR produces and adopts a number of documents and declarations that are used to express EULAR’s position and/or demands on different policy issues.

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Links to other organisations

Partnerships that help to increase the knowledge of the organisations involved and the impact they can have on the political stage.

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Questions and Answers on RMDs

EULAR description on Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases (RMDs)

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