(What takes really long will finally work out well) German saying
Back in time in the early 90ies as a young chairperson of Neurology at the University of Heidelberg I was a member of the ENS and I was appointed treasurer of the newly founded EFNS which was created according to the wishes of the WFN as the regional European Federation of Neurological Societies. Fine, I thought, and I immediately started to convince the big shots that a unified neurological society would be desirable and 2 separate conferences per year are a waste of time and money. However I didn’t succeed to make my points clear and I also realized that there were obstacles more important than science and logic something that I would like to call today “personality inherent hurdles”. In consequence I quit my EFNS job after a few years and concentrated on the field of stroke which gave me enough international conferences per year. When I became President of the German Neurological Society in 2000 it happened that Dieter Heiss from Cologne was President of the EFNS and Klaus Toyka from Würzburg was the President of the ENS, a pretty Germanic line-up. We re-started the discussion about a unified society. No success, although both Presidents were in favor.
Another 12 years later I was very pleased to hear, during my term as vice president of the WFN, that finally an agreement had been made, that the process of formation of the European Academy of Neurology was on its way and that after a joint congress of ENS/EFNS in Istanbul this year Berlin would host the first EAN conference in 2015 (we have some experience with unification). Isn’t it interesting this will be a year after I retire from my clinical duties. It took quite some time to reach this point.
Finally the strong European Neurology will speak with one voice and combine its talents. While scientific highlights will continue to be presented at the specialty conferences, education and teaching will be the mainstay of the EAN.
Congratulations for a development that was long overdue.
Werner Hacke is Professor of Neurology and Chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of Heidelberg in Germany.