About us

EPECS is registered in the Chamber of Commerce Zuid Limburg as a non-profit foundation under Dutch law that wants to give a voice to the citizens of the EU. We are convinced that citizens are the basis of the EU and should therefore be involved in the EU. By offering tailor-made solutions to these citizens and making their voices heard in various networks and partnerships.

Universal suffrage

Universal suffrage in the EU is the basis for the organisation of the EU. The European Parliament is elected once every five years. That is a good basis. In order to increase the sense of belonging to the EU, it is necessary for citizens to be able to actively influence developments in the EU simultaneously and structurally on all kinds of issues that affect them. On the other hand, it is important that they are challenged to take responsibility themselves, alone and together, to give substance to that citizenship. Universal suffrage is a precious commodity.

Civil rights

It is also precious that within the EU everyone is equal before the law in every country. Discrimination on grounds of race, gender or religion is not allowed. These civil rights are hard-won. To keep them alive, citizens need to feel that they matter. In the coming years, civic participation will be given substance in numerous areas. From low to high and at all levels. From the street, neighbourhood and city to the region, province, Euroregion, country and, of course, the EU. Citizens are competent. Their contribution adds value.

Why is this important?

We work worldwide with and for each other, need each other and depend on each other’s behaviour. Think global, act local’ is the basis. Large blocks such as the US, China, India, Russia and the EU are necessary. At the same time, it is a huge challenge to create support among such large numbers of people and groups of citizens at the local level. Promoting mutual interaction between the EU and its citizens is a good contribution to this.


EPECS focuses on the health of citizens, the greatest good for all. It is clear that health and economy are connected. The good health of the population promotes the development of a sustainable economy and, conversely, a sustainable economy promotes health. For EPECS, the UN Sustainable Development Goals and corporate social responsibility are conditions sine qua non.

Health promotion

For most people, health increasingly depends on a healthy lifestyle. Our global industrial production is out of balance because the 3 Ps – People, Planet, Profit – are not managed in conjunction. As a result, diseases of civilisation such as COPD, diabetes and obesity are developing. These cause the most health problems. Infectious diseases are becoming an ever greater danger worldwide and must be reduced by all possible means. Health care can develop much better in the coming years if it is managed on two tracks:

  • to promote that most people are and remain as healthy as possible, so that they do not have to rely (unnecessarily) on health care
  • provide the best care for the people who do depend on the healthcare system.

On this last point, healthcare in the EU is very advanced and top-notch, although Covid-19 has shown us how fragile our global care is. A healthy lifestyle requires the active participation and responsible behaviour of every citizen. How can this be promoted?


EPECS sees health as the ability to adapt and self manage in the face of life’s challenges, social, physical and emotional. Every EU citizen is invited to do this, has the power to do so, and can do so. EPECS does not see health and welfare as ends in themselves, but as tools at the service of the people of the EU.

Positive health

Machteld Huber has created worldwide initial support for a definition of health, namely Positive Health. This promotes equality in health care and enables citizens to take co-responsibility for their own health in a simple way. Having a job, a meaningful life, belonging, the meaning of life. These are pillars of the Positive Health concept, which strengthen the role of people.

The six pillars of Positive Health

EPECS puts the citizen centre stage. In the emerging concept of Positive Health, we see the right approach that best fits the citizen and what the citizen indicates when it comes to his or her health. The description of Positive Health is dynamic, lifelong and places a strong emphasis on people’s own direction and capabilities, their resilience. Positive Health is the ability to adapt and self manage in the face of life’s challenges, social, physical and emotional.

Positive Health is based on 6 pillars:

1) Participation
2) Meaningfulness
3) Mental well-being
4) Daily functioning
5) Body functions
6) Quality of life

EPECS encourages every citizen at www.mijnpositievegezondheid.nl to fill in and keep track of your own spider. Using a number of questions, you gain insight into your own health. Central to this is the question of what the citizen himself wants to do. This strongly promotes equality between citizen and doctor, particularly in the micro situation of the consultation and treatment room. In that sense, for EPECS Positive Health is a very concrete step in the emancipation of the European citizen in the field of welfare and health. This basis is also needed when the citizen needs or wants to use cross-border care.

Want to read more? Visit www.iph.nl for more information.


The EPECS Foundation was officially established on 1 September 2007. The foundation is registered with the Chamber of Commerce Zuid-Limburg under number 14096500. Our RSIN-number is 818473976.

The board of EPECS consists of the following persons:

  • Chairman Jo Maes, retired, former director of ‘Burgerkracht Limburg/Huis voor de Zorg’.
  • Secretary: Martien Overkemping, former director of ‘Zorgbelang Overijssel’.
  • Treasurer: Fred Reinders,
  • Board member, Nikolas Decker, lawyer Luxembourg
  • Board member: Silke Tamm-Kanj, Emancipation Affairs Officer, Würselen City Council

The EPECS Secretariat is located in Maastricht.

These are the statutes of EPECS. And here are the 2022 financial statements.

ANBI recognised

As of the 5th of  october 2021, EPECS has been granted ANBI status by the Dutch tax authorities under reference number: RSIN 8184.73.976. Gifts and (periodical) donations to the foundation are therefore tax deductible under Dutch law, depending on the personal situation.


Taal:                    Brochure:

Dutch                     Medisch behandeld worden in de EU

Dutch                     Uw rechten als NL patient naar/in BE

Dutch                     Uw rechten als BE patient naar/in NL

Dutch                     Uw rechten als NL patient naar/in DE

German                 Medizinische Behandlung in die EU, from the German perspective

German                 Medizinische Behandlung in die EU, focussed on AT

German                 Ihre Rechte als DE Patient in NL

German                 Your rights as a AT patient tot CZ

Tsjech                    Your rights as a CZ patient to AT

Tsjech                    Medical treatment in the EU

Francais                Traitement medical au sein de L’EU, information general

English                   Your rights as a patient within the EU

  • On 22 January 2007, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the EPECS initiators.
  • Reaction EPECS on consultation DG Sanco (08-02-2007): EPECS has drawn up a response to the consultation of the EU (consultation on Community action in the field of health services – Brussels, 26 September 2006). The complete response of EPECS can be read here. The summary can be read here.
  • Our policy note can be found here.


EPECS takes positions on current issues within health policy, in particular towards the Directorate-General for Health and Consumer Protection of the European Commission. Below you will find a selection of the position papers:

  • October 2013: Position on implementation of national contact point
  • December 2008: EPECS position on draft directive on patients’ rights
  • February 2007: Position paper on “Health in Europe: A Strategic Approach”.
  • January 2007: Reaction to the consultation of the EU Commission
  • January 2007: Summary response to EU Commission consultation