‘Con las Personas Mayores Avanza Europa’ or ‘With Seniors, Europe advances’
The European elections are less than 40 days ahead of us. Therefore, our Vice-President, Ms. Carmen Quintanilla Barba, seized the moment to dedicate a conference on the impact of the European Union on the day-to-day life of seniors all over our continent. During this two-day gathering, we were presented a broad array of topics in which both a social and political dimension was discusses along interesting informal contacts and activities.
First and foremost, we need to thank a few persons and organisations who had a crucial impact in order to make this conference a great success. Therefore, we would like to show our appreciation to the European People’s Party, Partido Popular, Populares de Ciudad Real and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. And last but not least, we have to thank our Vice-President, Ms. Carmen Quintanilla Barba for the warm welcome in her hometown Ciudad Real and for the meticulously well-prepared conference.
The conference opened with the welcoming speeches of Dr. Wilhelm Hofmeister, Director of the KAS office in Spain, followed by some words by our own President, Ms. An Hermans. Mr. Francisco Canizares, President of the PP in Ciudad Real had the honour the close the first session and introduce us to the following debates.
Campaign Director and Vice-President of the EPP, Mr. Dara Murphy subsequently went into a discussion moderated by Mr. Jose Ramon Garcia Hernandez, the International Secretary of the PP on the upcoming European elections and the importance to vote. He assured us that seniors have a major role to play when it comes to a higher turn-out which might be positive for EPP-related political parties. He also introduced the basic story-lines our Lead Candidate Manfred Weber will use during his path towards the elections. The starting point of the positive story the EPP would like to send out is ‘the power of WE’.
This slogan was also the basic thread throughout the conference in Ciudad Real. It shows that we only can achieve our ambitions if we work together, across countries and ages. The Power of WE is strong: joining forces will give us a solid and secure place in the world against our enemies and competitors. The Power of WE is smart: we already have all it takes to pursue our most ambitious goals — we only need to join our ideas, energy and resources. The Power of WE is caring: because when everyone engages, no one is left behind. This is what the EPP wants to stand for in Europe: a strong, united family which is ambitious to tackle all challenges ahead.
This social and family-based perspective was the theme during the next session with Ms. Rosa Plantagenet, the President of Senior en Red. She introduced her association as a non-profit association led by entrepreneurs and experienced people over the age of 50 who are working to carry out a social project dedicated to fighting the loneliness of older people with the support of new technologies and putting in value their life experience. She started this social project when she saw the need to take an engagement as society was crying out for help to mitigate the loneliness suffered by so many elderly people in need of love, company, friendship, … And because of that and because she think that the purpose in this life you have is to give back what you has been given by helping others. This project shows us that engaging with seniors and empowering them is worth the efforts. As a good practice, we shall take her ideas aboard to improve the life of seniors throughout Europe.
After these interesting discussions and an evening of valuable informal contacts, we started off the next day with a debate on a familiar topic for the European Seniors’ Union: intergenerational solidarity. The panel of this session consisted of Mr. Eduardo Rodriguez Rovira, Vice-President of CEOMA, Ms. Isabel Aranguez Alonso, defender of the Complutense University in Madrid, Ms. Marta Maroto, President of the New Generations of the PP in Castilla-La Mancha and Mr. Jose Antonio Valdes Gonzalez. This dynamic debate was moderated by Ms. Carolina Agudo, the Secretary-General of the PP in Castilla-La Mancha.
Subsequently we discussed the contribution of seniors to the well-being of families and socioeconomic development in our Union with Ms. Monica Ramos Toro, Director of the INGESS. We should keep in mind that we growing older is a dynamic process in which there is no one-way care-relation and that seniors have an important role to play in families and could be an added value for the welfare and well-being of a society.
After two days of intensive but inspiring debates, our Vice-President Carmen Quintanilla Barba initiated the last panel discussion closing down the conference with Ms. An Hermans, Mr. Antonio Lopez Isturiz, Mr. Dara Murphy and Mr. Paco Nunez Nunez, President of the PP in Castilla-La Mancha.
Our ESU delegation couldn’t be more grateful for a wonderful conference as our Vice-President organized. It would be impossible to pick a more well-suited title for this conference: ‘Con las Personas Mayores Avanza Europa’ or ‘With Seniors, Europe advances’. With plenty of eminent speakers and enthusiastic participants, today’s position of seniors was discussed while providing solutions and measures which create an age-friendly society, where no one is left behind. It was clear that all attendants shared a common belief and joint aim of standing for Europe and creating a better future for all.
Let’s work together to make the upcoming European elections a similar success as the conference in Ciudad Real. Afterwards we will open a new chapter for Europe, leading to a strong, smart and kind Europe in which every citizens counts.