How PGEU Operates

The PGEU has a Secretariat located in Brussels with a staff of five people who coordinates the daily work of the association. The PGEU holds a General Assembly two times per year (June and November) to which all members and observer members are invited to participate. PGEU holds an Annual Symposium which takes place immediately after or before the June General Assembly. The PGEU has a management board known as the Executive Committee whose members are representatives of PGEU member organisations.

The Presidency of the PGEU changes on an annual basis by the way of a rotation system among members. To facilitate the work of the PGEU in giving advice and formulating proposals in many different policy areas relevant to community pharmacy and public health, a number of PGEU Working Groups have been established.

General Assembly

The General Assembly is the supreme body of the association which decides on all important matters including PGEU policy decisions and the annual budget. The General Assembly meets two times per year and all ordinary members and observer members delegations attend. Policy proposals are developed by the Working Groups in collaboration with the Secretariat, and the Executive Committee presents policy proposals to the General Assembly with its recommendations for action.

PGEU Annual Conference

PGEU holds an annual conference every year the day before/after the June General Assembly. The annual conference features expert speakers from the world of pharmacy, the European institutions, national authorities, academia and patient groups.

Executive Committee :

  • Meets on a monthly basis.

  • Assists the Secretary General in managing the association and implementing the resolutions of the General Assembly.

  • Examines policy proposals developed by the WorkingGroups in collaboration with the Secretariat and presents the proposals and the Committee's recommendations for action to the General Assembly.

  • The chair of the Executive Committee is the President.

Currently the Executive Committee consists of 9 members. EXCO Members 2023 : Belgium - Bulgaria - Finland - Hungary - Italy - Latvia - GD of Luxembourg - Netherlands - Romania.


The President is elected by the national delegations.

President : Koen Straetmans  (Belgium) is PGEU President for 2023.

Koen Straetmans, pharmacist is a son of two pharmacists, born in Antwerp (Flemish region in Belgium). Together with his wife, also a pharmacist, they have their own community pharmacy in the Walloon region of Belgium, since 2001. He started his career in 2001 and worked in several community pharmacies in Belgium before starting his activities in 2007 at APB, the Belgian Pharmaceutical Association. Starting at the Scientific department at APB, he later on worked in the Regulatory and Political Departments of APB, before becoming Secretary-General in January 2016. Koen is now the current president of the Belgian Pharmaceutical Association (APB) since November 2020.

Vice President : Risto Kanerva (Finland) is PGEU Vice-President for 2023.

Dr Risto Kanerva is the president of The Association of Finnish Pharmacies (AFP). He is also a community pharmacist with 35 years of experience in different branches of pharmaceutical trade. For twenty years he worked at Oriola, at the time one of the leading pharmaceutical wholesalers in the Nordic countries. As the president and CEO of the company he was also acting as the vice president of GIRP in Brussels. Before starting as a proprietary pharmacist Risto worked as the general manager of the Helsinki University Hospital Pharmacy. Risto was elected in the board of AFP the same year he started to run his pharmacy, currently in Helsinki Capital Area. He doctorated in Helsinki University Faculty of Pharmacy in late 1990’s and is still acting as a part time lecturer and researcher.

Working Groups

The PGEU has to give advice and formulate proposals in many different policy areas relevant to community pharmacy and public health. To facilitate this work, the Executive Committee or the General Assembly can propose the establishment of a working group to deal with specific issues. The working group members are experts appointed by PGEU members. The working groups provide additional technical expertise to the Secretariat in developing policy proposals, which are then presented by the Executive Committee to the General Assembly for approval. The following working groups are currently active:

  • Advisory Working Group (AWG) : The AWG is the main consultative body of the PGEU, covering a wide range of policy areas and is currently the key forum for discussion and development of PGEU policy papers.

  • European Pharmacists' Professional Forum (EPPF) : The European Pharmacists' Professional Forum deals with professional issues, including issues related to mobility of pharmacists, mutual recognition of professional qualifications, education and training of pharmacists, patient safety, pharmacy practice, collaboration with other stakeholders, etc.

  • Economics Working Group (EWG): The EWG deals with  current economic issues and with latest developments in health policy and health economics affecting community pharmacies. These include trends related to fiscal sustainability of health systems, strengthening of primary care services, pricing and reimbursement policies, health technology assessment, digitalization in healthcare.