Europe as a task & Challenges for the EU

On 12 July 2023 the Summer Academy was hosted in the Provincial House of Flemish Brabant. It was the central day of information and discussion. You can find the Summer Academy programme here.

On the third day of the Summer Academy, we had a warm welcome by our ESU-president An Hermans, in the provincial house of the province of Flemish Brabant. She highlighted the theme of our Summer Academy, “Europe as a task”, and mentioned the need of “holding generations together”. By referring to history, through Robert Schuman, Konrad Adenauer and later Vaclav Havel, she spoke of the European project which can only be achieved ‘step by step’ and ‘day by day’. Our president stressed the idea of a “Europe of values, with a humane centered policy” and the need for a spirit of responsibility and cooperation in Europe.

We were also welcomed by Wouter Van Butsel, Head of CEDER, the political study department of CD&V. He talked about the choice of the CD&V to be a party for the seniors, as it always has been in the past. He mentioned not only to talk about health and long term care, but to broaden the subjects. Seniors want to be part of the whole society.

At 10 o’clock, we had the long-awaited speech from our distinguished guest-speaker Herman Van Rompuy, who served as the first president of the European Council from 2009 to 2014. He spoke about several subjects, including the experience of a permanent crisis since the last 15 years in Europe. He talked about democracy, migration, climate change, security and other issues. Most importantly, he talked about hope, and the idea that hope is a verb. He concluded with the saying “the less the time is ripe, the more we have to do to make it ripe”. You can find the integral speech here.

After the speech, we had a very interesting discussion, moderated by Heinz Becker, ESU-vice president and former MEP for Austria. We had the chance to listen to Marilyn Neven, programme manager at International IDEA (Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance), and Georg Männik, ESU-presidency member from Estonia. Mrs. Neven talked about the topic of democracy, and how it is under assault throughout the world, as more and more countries are developing into autocracies instead of democracies. As a result, democracy is increasingly becoming a core strategic theme for the EU.

Furthermore, mrs. Neven stressed the need for a call for more multilateralism: a beginning of an international dialogue on democracy. She also stressed the need for renewing the European narrative on democracy. After this, mr. Männik talked about the current war in Ukraine, and raised some questions about the steps which should be taken when the war will be over.

Heinz Becker highlighted several parts of Herman Van Rompuy’s analysis to be discussed by the audience and brought it in relation to next year’s European elections. It caused lively discussions. The fact that the next keynote speakers (Patrick Penninckx and Tomi Huthanen) were so kind to attend the morning session with Herman Van Rompuy, created the conditions for an integrated perspective and broad discussions throughout the whole day.


Events in 2023

ESU Annual Report 2023


Our ESU 2023 Annual Report is available

Brainstorm on “Enhancing the Digital Skills of Seniors in the Slovak Republic”


The primary aim of this project is to optimize digital literacy among seniors in Slovakia by developing lessons focused on digitalization for seniors.

New perspectives about ageing better

NIcosia - Cyprus

Regional Conference in Nicosia on new perspectives about ageing better

UN International Day of Older Persons


President An Hermans has provided a message in on the occasion of the 33rd UNIDOP on October 1st.

The ESU joins UNIDOP celebrations in Cyprus

Foini - Cyprus

On October 1, ESU President An Hermans and Secretary-General Guido Dumon joined in the UN International Day of Older Persons (UNIDOP) festivities in Cyprus.

Empowering Active Retirees in the Digital Era: An Inspiring Encounter


On July 20, 2023, ESU-president An Hermans was invited to speak before a group of retired professionals in Kortrijk, Flanders on the topic: MIL.

News from the ESU associations: Thoughts and experiences to share


The final morning of the academy was dedicated to the ESU-association's internal aspects and future prospects.

Martens Centre Survey on 'Regaining the Middle Ground for the Centre Right' and discussions


The focus of the survey was on understanding the mindset of the European middle class, particularly their economic, psychological, and security concerns.

Advancing a Human Rights-Based Approach to the Digital Environment


Patrick Penninckx led a presentation on fostering a sustainable, people-centered, and human rights-based approach to the challenges posed by digital environment

'Europe as a Task'


Insights into EU Governance: Exploring the European Commission and the European Semester at the Summer Academy

ESU's Visit to EPP Headquarters in Brussels


Strengthening Bonds and Understanding: ESU's Visit to EPP Headquarters in Brussels

"Why Europe? - Presidency Meeting with Prof. Steven Van Hecke"


ESU presidium meeting during first day of the Summer Academy

​​European People's Party Political Assembly in Munich


The EPP Political Assembly brings together representatives from all EPP member parties and associations

The European Day of Solidarity between Generations


The European Day of Solidarity between Generations aim is to raise awareness of the importance of intergenerational solidarity and to promote dialogue.

Symposium CD&V-senioren – CDA senioren – European Seniors’ Union


A fascinating day on ‘Creating dignity in the final phase of life"

National meeting 'Generation 60+' in Bozen/ Bolzano

Bozen/ Bolzano

'Generation 60+' held an election meeting in which Otto von Dellemann and Christine von Stefenelli were confirmed in their positions.

The EU’s Care Strategy – Perspectives and Reflections of the ESU


A European Care Strategy was at the center of the discussions at the ESU Executive Committee Meeting (EXCO), which took place on March 25, in Leuven.

ExCo meeting in Leuven- Side Event


The ESU Facilitated meeting between the Chairpersons of the Foreign Affairs Committees of the Belgian and Romanian Parliaments

Presidium and Executive Committee meeting in Leuven


On 24-26 March, we organised a meeting in Leuven with Presidium members and Executive Committee members.

Biennial national meeting of Hoyre-Seniors


ESU president An Hermans and general secretary Guido Dumon were invited to Bergen, Norway, for the biennial national meeting of Hoyre-Seniors.

A new EU healthcare strategy - Video conference with Sirpa Pietikäinen


Besides some information on ongoing ESU initiatives, the meeting focused on the new European care strategy.