Guiding Principles


Since 1984, National Medical Associations in the WHO European Region have established a  joint forum with the WHO European Regional Office.  The organisation of this forum is called “The European Forum of Medical Associations” (hereinafter “EFMA”).  The aim of the EFMA Forum is to establish dialogue and cooperation between National Medical Associations and the WHO in the European Region, in order to improve the quality of health and health care in Europe; to promote the exchange of information and ideas between National Medical Associations and between Associations and the WHO; and to formulate consensus policy statements on health issues. 

The EFMA Liaison Committee (LC) serves as the “executive committee” that organizes the scientific program of the annual Forum meeting and runs all other EFMA business and activities.

The Liaison Committee formally submits the following recommendations and guidelines on the organization and activities of the European Forum of Medical Associations:



1.   The plenary meetings and collaborative actions of EFMA shall continue in the usual manner unless otherwise specified.

2.   Host NMAs shall be identified two years in advance in order to facilitate planning and ensure continuity and stability.

3.   Each host NMA shall take responsibility for all administrative activity related to the Forum meeting, in coordination with the secretary.



5.   The secretary of EFMA shall be nominated by a supporting NMA that is willing to provide administrative and logistical assistance.  The appointment shall be subject to a proposal of the LC and the approval by consensus of the EFMA Forum meeting participants.

6.   The term for Secretariat is three years, renewable twice.  This can be reviewed if there is any substantial change in the functioning of EFMA.


Funding/Financial Organization

7.   Registration fees shall reflect the cost of related preparation and follow-up work of the Forum plenary meetings.  The amount of dues and fees may be re-evaluated once every two years.  Dues for a specific country may, by consensus of the LC members, be reduced or waived.

8.   Registration fees will cover the attendance of two representatives at the Forum.

9.   Registration fees must be paid one month prior to the Forum.

10. A set fee will be paid for additional delegates to attend the Forum.  There is a limit of two additional delegates that an organization can register, which includes accompanying persons.

11. Every participating organisation should make some financial contribution to the Forum plenary meeting even if, for special reasons, it is small.

12. Cancellation policy – participants who cancel their participation in the Forum more than a month before the Forum date will receive a full refund of their registration fee.  Participants who cancel less than one month before the Forum will not receive any reimbursement of funds; the LC may decide otherwise by a consensus.

13. The host of the Forum will present a budget for the Forum; this budget will be discussed and approved by the LC prior to the official acceptance of the host’s invitation.

14. Participants will pay their registration fees to the secretariat.  The secretariat will send this money to the host country in two instalments.

15. Funding for the Forum meetings shall be the responsibility, of the host country and shall include funding for entertainment and administration as provided for in the budget and existing agreements. 

16. Entertainment costing more than what is subsidized according to the budget can be provided by the host country.

17. Financial Assistance – NMA’s can choose to provide additional funds in order to support NMA’s who would otherwise not be able to attend Forum meetings.

18. NMA’s offering financial assistance may send their chosen amount of money to the Secretariat and this will be distributed to associations in need of such assistance. NMA’s offering financial assistance may also sponsor associations in need of assistance directly.

19. Each sponsored association will be viewed as a guest (additional delegate) of the sponsoring association and will pay the reduced registration fee of 400 Euros.

20.  A sponsored guest does not count as one of the maximum of four delegates included in the registration fee (2 delegates +2 additional delegates). The number of “sponsored guests” is limited to four for every sponsoring association.

21.  A sponsored association is entitled to send only one representative to the Forum.

22.  Associations receiving financial assistance must meet the EFMA membership requirements as stated in article 29.

23. The WHO is willing to continue to provide and support presenters to attend and take part in the Forum.

24. Supranational/ European physician associations and medical organisations recognised by the EFMA LC will pay a reduced meeting registration fee of 400 Euros per person.  Representation of each organisation at the Forum plenary meetings is limited to two persons. These delegates may not represent their respective national medical association at the same time, unless they are counted as regular representatives of such organization, paying the regular registration fee. The WHO and EMSA are exempt from paying meeting registration fees.

25. LC members pay the registration fees but do not count as one of the four (2+2) delegates of their organization.

26. The former Secretary Generals of EFMA will be exempt from paying registration fees to attend the Forum.

27. Invited speakers of the Forum are exempt from paying registration fees.  Their travel and accommodation expenses may be paid by the organization/ association inviting them.  Speakers will not be counted as one of the inviting organisation’s official 4 delegates.

28. Following the Forum, the host shall present a financial report of the Forum receipts and expenses to the LC.



29. Membership in the Forum shall be open to all recognized physician organizations of any country in the European Region of the WHO that is recognized by the UN.  A physician organisation shall be defined as “a free independent nongovernmental association of physicians constituted in an organisation which elects its own officers, appoints its own staff and determines its own constitution, except for any statutory duties that it undertakes, and whose activities cover all the various aspects of professional practice.”  

30.  Membership is subject to a proposal by the LC and approval by consensus of the EFMA Forum.

31. Any eligible national organisation wishing to apply for membership shall apply to the Secretary, who shall raise it at the upcoming Forum meeting.

32. Participation in Forum meetings is conditional on the payment of fees, unless otherwise decided as per paragraphs 7 and 24.

33. There is no membership fee for membership in EFMA.

34. EFMA Members are required to update their contact data and information on the official EFMA website and handbook. If no updates have been made for more than five years (after two reminders of the EFMA Secretariat), the membership shall automatically cease.



35. Independent individuals who express an interest in the subject matter of a Forum meeting may participate as observers at Forum meetings.  Observers may participate in all discussions but are not eligible to vote on decisions, or to be elected to positions within EFMA.  Observers are not permitted to request items for the agenda. Observers shall pay the regular registration fee (The LC may consider waiving or reducing the fee to 200 Euros).

36. Non-physicians and non-physician organisations may attend Forum meetings upon  invitation by the EFMA Liaison Committee.


Agenda of EFMA meetings

37. The agenda of the plenary meeting is discussed and approved by the LC.

38. An EFMA member who wishes to suggest an item for the agenda of a plenary meeting shall submit the suggestion to the Secretary, in writing, at least six months prior to the scheduled date of the meeting.

39. Upon receipt of the suggestion, the Secretary shall circulate it to the LC for comment.


Decision mechanisms

40. Unless otherwise specified, all decisions shall be carried by a simple majority of NMAs present at a given meeting.

41. The Forum will continue to take into account the views of other organizations and interest (in particular the WMA and CPME) in any discussions, actions and decisions relevant to the roles of NMAs and their members within the European Region of the WHO, and when appropriate, collaborate with them.


Liaison committee-structure and function

42. The Liaison Committee shall be made up of 3 EU representatives, 3 non-EU representatives, a WHO representative, the EFMA Secretary General, LC Advisor, the editor/publisher of the handbook, the president of the NMA providing support for the EFMA Secretariat and the immediate-past, present and future forum host.

43. The LC members, excluding the past, present and future forum hosts, shall be proposed by the present LC and approved by consensus of the EFMA Forum for a term of 3 years. The term of LC members can be renewed an unlimited number of times.

44. The liaison committee shall continue its functions as presently constituted, normally meeting three times a year, in autumn and winter and one more time at the Forum meeting.  Additional meetings can be held if required. Ideally, one LC meeting per year should be held at the WHO European Regional office in Copenhagen.

45. The chair of the EFMA LC meeting is usually the hosting country of where the meeting is taking place.



46. Concerning any specific workgroup, one NMA shall take on the overall responsibility for the direction of the work and for coordinating arrangements for the meetings, in collaboration with the Secretary.


Outside Sponsorship

47. Outside sponsorship shall be permitted according to existing WHO guidelines for sponsoring and funding.