‘Es gibt nog etwas zu tun’

On 18 and 19 October the presidium gathered in Berlin at the headquarters of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU): Konrad Adenauerhaus.

‘Viel haben wir erreicht, aber es gibt noch viel zu tun’. That was the spirit of the speeches on the event of the celebration of the unification of Germany; 30 years after the fall of the Iron Curtain. It applies to Germany but most certainly it also applies to Europe.

Because of the very special role that Berlin played for the unification of Europe, we gratefully accepted the proposal of Dr. Bernhard Worms to meet at the start of a new ESU working term in Berlin. 18-19 October became a multifunctional meeting: a Presidium meeting, discussions, presentations, mutual learning and exchanges and all this together with a delegation of the Senioren-Union of the CDU in the heart of Berlin.

Presidium meeting – Friday

On Friday we had the first meeting of the new elected ESU-presidium, together with the outgoing members. One of the important points that were discussed is the proposal to organise an additional congress to revise the Statutes and Rules of Procedure of the ESU. Organising this kind of congress more frequent than just every three years allows us to look at the articles of our association more closely.

Another notable issue was the announcement of our Senior International’s editor, Ulrich Winz. During the previous years Ulrich did a great job editing Senior International and providing a column in ‘Souverän’. But Ulrich announced that he would stop writing the bulletin and also the column. He proposes to ‘rethink’ our communication system and he is willing to cooperate.  We thank him enormously for his work; it was an added value to be able to count on his reports at all times.

Together, the members of the presidium were looking at how they can share more tasks, so that the development of the ESU is a real ‘common commitment’ of all vice-presidents.

Joint meeting- Friday

After our presidium meeting we held a joint meeting of the ESU Presidium and the Executive Board of Senioren-Union CDU. During the introduction speech, our president Prof Dr. An Hermans thanked the CDU for the support in the run-up to this meeting.

Claus Bernhold, Vice President of CDU Senioren-Union, took the floor and welcomed the ESU presidium. In this speech, he elaborated on the importance of the European Project: “The ‘human element’ returns to politics and Europe has a very important role to play in this. ‘People’ are extremely important in politics. Thanks to the courage of the founding fathers of the EU project, we stand where we stand and we cannot take this for granted.”

During the meeting a video of Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, leader of the CDU was showed; she recorded tis video message for our meeting.

The following interesting speaker was, Jan-Peter Luther, National Secretary of the CDU Senioren-Union. The CDU has put together objectives to hear the interests of senior citizens: “It can be a compass that gives opportunities” Luther stated. This initiative started in 2016. In doing so, the party excludes all age discrimination and tries to answer seniors’ concerns, for example, they ask for a flexible ‘route to retire’.

“European integration brought people together, it is our goal for today and tomorrow. Digitalisation and housing are important challenges for the future, new technologies must be explained and no one can be left behind! Needs and questions concerning housing are important for the elderly, people should be able to stay independent for as long as possible. There are many principles on eight pages: This was a challenge, but we know what we stand for! We can use this document to shape the future of our own party. We want to strengthen this by having active elderly people in our party!”

Please find the Grundsätze der Senioren-Union der CDU Deutschlands here.

Discussion on ’Participation in the EU’ – Saturday

On Saturday we had a discussion on a quote of Ursula von der Leyen: “We need to improve participation in our democracy. We need to ensure that people can make their voice heard and are listened to”

How to respond to this need? By Governments, by political parties, by civil society? Which are the challenges for the coming years? What answers does Christian democracy have to populism and extremism? During this discussion we could count on Prof Dr. Steven Van Hecke for the introduction & moderation of the debate.  Many thanks to our experienced speakers:

– Bertil Wenger, Office Manager for Foreign Relations CDU

– Heinz K. Becker, former MEP, Vice President of ESU

Prof Van Hecke brought a very appreciated synopsis of today’s challenges and problems. He pictured the how recently citizens’ interest and need for Europe is growing, but on the other hand trough a multitude of factors the political space is open for populism and extremism. Both speakers explored the role of people’s parties, with special attention to Germany and Austria, and argued that we have to continue also in our associations to communicate with our fellow citizens and… that only transparency and good governance can convince people that Europe protects and cares for its people. In lively discussions participants brought in their own vision and concluded that the Sandanski Declaration is ‘a compass’ for the years to come. And… that a lot of work still has to be done.

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Events in 2019

“Thirty years of freedom” - Through the eyes of seniors

Bratislva - Slovakia

From 6-8 November, the Christian Senior Citizens' Association of Slovakia, together with the ESU, organised a regional conference in Bratislava.

“The Journey to Age Equality”: International Day of Older Persons 2019

International

In its Resolution 45/106 of 14 December 1990, the General Assembly of the UN declared the first of October to be 'International Day of Older Persons.

10th ESU Congress

Sandanski - Bulgaria

‘Seniors standing up for Europe’ this theme brought together over 160 men and women from 20 countries in Sandanski on 27 and 28 September.

10th edition of the Summer Academy

Vienna - Austria

Already for the 10th time, seniors from all over Europe gathered in Vienna for the yearly Summer Academy at the Politische Akademie der ÖVP.

Greetings to Cyprus

Cyprus

A message from our President An Hermans to the congress in Cyprus after the European elections.

Get involved in the future of Europe

Nicosia - Cyprus

A glance at the gathering of Cypriotic seniors on the 13th of May.

European Day of Solidarity between Generations

Brussels - Belgium

A Letter of the ESU on the occasion of the European Day of Solidarity between Generations

The first Forum of Seniors’ Organizations from the Eastern Partnership

Minsk - Belarus

On the 24th and 25 of April, an ESU delegation was honoured to be part of the first Forum of Seniors’ Organizations organized in Minsk.

Conferencia Europea: ‘Con las Personas Mayores Avanza Europa’

Ciudad Real - Spain

Report on the Conferencia Europea: ‘Con las Personas Mayores Avanza Europa’

Launch EPP Campaign

Brussels - Belgium

Manfred Weber launched its ‘Power of WE’ in the House of European History in the presence of an ESU delegation,

Regional Conference Bozen

Bozen - Italy

On 21-23 March, the ESU co-hosted a Regional Conference together with the SVP-Senioren on several challenges our European Union is facing.

Executive Committee - Ambitions for Europe: the 2019 Elections and Beyond

Prague - Czech Republic

During the weekend of 22-24 February, the ESU Executive Committee was welcomed in Prague to gather with the European elections in mind.