I would like to start my first speech as President by paying tribute to our previous President, Dominique de Valeriola, and to our director, Claudio Lombardo, for all their important and very valuable work and for their contribution, with the precious help of the Board members, in maintaining the coexistence of more than 90 OECI cancer centres in the different countries that make up our Organisation. In accordance with the Board, I wish to carry on along the same lines and, as pointed out last year, I will also try to add a personal touch to certain issues.  
The “Organisation of European Cancer Institutes” is a non-governmental, no-profit legal Entity established in 1979 to promote greater cooperation among European Cancer Centres and Institutes.
Its founders designed a structure aimed at promoting efficient partnership across Europe, notwithstanding its linguistic barriers and traditional care and research heterogeneity.
The OECI is a network
The activity of the OECI is based on a structure where the Accreditation&Designation Programme, the Working Groups and the Communication and Dissemination Activity cooperate in order to improve quality in Cancer Care and Research, whilst fostering exchange amongst its Members and promoting partnership between Cancer Institutes and Patient Associations  
The beginning
Following Professor Z. Maricic and Professor I. Padovan’s invitation, a meeting amongst some of the Directors of European Cancer Institutes was convened in Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia, on 14th May 1979. Under the chairmanship of the then President of the UICC, Professor Umberto Veronesi, and despite significant political, economic and linguistic differences existing in Europe, the Organisation