Europace 2011 Opening Ceremony
Philippe Ritter speech
Opening ceremony of EHRA-Europace congress, Madrid
As Chairman of the Scientific Committee of Cardiostim, it is my pleasure to announce, after Panos Vardas, President of EHRA, that we have signed an agreement in principle for a strategic alliance between the two congresses, EHRA-Europace on one side and Cardiostim on the other side. This agreement will run for the next 6 years, 2012 and 2013 being considered as intermediary editions, and its objective is to homogenize the scientific programme and its preparation thru a unique Scientific Committee and on a yearly basis, and to adopt a certain number of common practices in the organization of the congress itself.
From 2006 up to this Madrid edition of EHRA-Europace, an agreement has been running that respected the principle of alternation in the organization of Cardiostim on even years and Europace on odd years. This agreement was formalizing a privileged partnership in order to co-ordinate their educational initiatives towards the medical profession and industrial partners. This previous agreement stipulated in particular the collaboration between the two events in terms of programmes and communication. This period has been an opportunity to learn to work together, and by the end of the existing agreement it looked logical to think about a closer collaboration for the next period of time.
It took us two years of discussion and better understanding of each other to build this second phase. And I shall thank, in particular, Panos Vardas and Angelo Aurrichio for their capacity of listening and understanding while staying firm on their belief. I believe that the fact that discussions went on without discontinuity and have been done in an open mind and a real effort on both side to understand the other one’s opinion, objectives and constraints have indeed been necessary to forge this partnership on solid grounds.
Let us be realistic: our origins, methods, styles and constraints may be different but our goal is the same: to join our efforts to place the European EP congress at a level corresponding to the strength of the medical community that is recognized worldwide. This is not a merger in the capitalistic way, but the combination of both scientific organizations. Both organizing parties (ESC and Reed) will still exist and be responsible for organising the congress alternatively, in Nice and in Europe. But from 2014 on, and this is the point, the Scientific Committee will be unique, composed of renowned, motivated, multidisciplinary, and international experts of the EP community, and will be co-chaired by a EHRA appointed member and myself.
The new entity will be open to the other continents, especially to our North American colleagues. “EHRA-Europace” plus “Cardiostim” has to be a true international platform for exchanging opinions and sharing education between doctors and scientists from all over the world.
Concerning the industry and its role in the future congress, we, at Cardiostim, strongly believe that the industry and the scientific community have everything to win to cooperate in an open and ethical way. And that is what we already do in our hospitals and in the labs to permit innovation to emerge. Congresses in general would not exist without the industry support, and on the other side, any scientific programme must be independent from any influence of particular interest. The industry’s role will be defined to respect these two considerations, on the basis of ideas and proposals made by our industry partners and in an open discussion with the scientific committee.
I do consider that this agreement represents a historical event for the European EP community. We have the opportunity to organize a very unique, state-of-the art, annual event that will combine the best from both organizations. It is our responsibility, EHRA, Cardiostim and the industry, to make it a
success in the coming years.
I’ll terminate my speech by thanking Lukas Kappenberger with whom we started discussing in 2003, and Silvia Priori with whom we signed the first agreement that made us consider the possibility to join our efforts in the future, Isabel Bardinet, CEO of the ESC, and Michel Filzi, managing director of Cardiostim and of Reed Exhibitions, who were clever and open minded enough to explain and convince Doctors that such a close collaboration was possible and how to achieve it.