November 2013 – Reports – ESRS ANSS EU Committee

Published in ESRS Newsletter November 2013

ESRS EU Committee

Members (2012 – 2014):
Roberto Amici (Chair), Diego Garcia Borreguero (Co-Chair), Marta Gonçalves, Damien Leger, Dieter Riemann

The main aims of the Committee are: i) to bring the topics of “sleep” and “sleep disorders” to the attention of  the EU in order to receive support for research and teaching activities; ii) to promote sleep-related issues from a political point of view at a European and National level.

The main achievement of the last four-month period has been the finalisation of the “Wake-up Bus” project, which have been made under the coordination of Marta Goncalves (President of the Portuguese Sleep Society and member of the EU Committee) with the EU Committee, the Assembly of the National Sleep Societies (coordinated by Ludger Grote), the contribution of the ESRS Expert Panel (composed by Torbjorn Akerstedt, Fabio Cirgnotta, Jim Horne, Damien Leger, Walter McNicholas, Markku Partinen, and Joaquin Teran), and under the supervision of the ESRS President, Philippe Peigneux.

The project was aimed at raising awareness among general public and EU officers/ parliamentarians of the importance of sleepiness as a one of the main causes of road accidents. The project had three main goals, which were successfully achieved largely thanks to the contribution of the NSS of nineteen European countries (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands, Turkey).

The first achievement was the journey of the “Wake-up” bus through eight European countries. The tour started from Oporto on October 4th and ended in Brussels on October 14th after nine further stops in Lisbon, Madrid, Lyon, Milan, Ljubljana, Zagreb, Wien, Poznan, and Berlin. An awareness campaign was very successfully run by the National Sleep Society of each country visited by the bus and in several countries which were not reached by the bus due to time limitation.

The second achievement was the online European Sleep Study on “Sleepiness and Accidents” that was launched in all countries which agreed to be involved in the project. More than 12,000 valid questionnaires were finally collected and the outcome of the survey will be published soon.

The final act of the project was the meeting at the EU Parliament in Brussels that was held on October 15th thanks to the help of the Portuguese EU parliamentarian Paulo Rangel. During this meeting, the EU Parliamentarians were addressed by ESRS officers, ANSS members, and members of the Expert Panel about sleep and sleepiness at the wheel-related issues and about the outcomes of the online Sleep Study. The meeting was enhanced by the attendance of the EU Commissioner for Health, Tonio Borg, who opened the session (see Commissioner Borg’s opening speech).

Few selected pictures which have been taken during either the Wake-up bus tour or the Brussels meeting are shown. A larger set of information and material related to the project, and pictures and movies taken during the different stops of the bus around Europe are available at the ESRS website (Photo Gallery).

Roberto Amici