9th ESU Congress: Together for a safe and social Europe
On 4-5 November 2016, delegates from 30 seniors’ associations from 23 European countries gathered for the triennial ESU Congress in the Provinciehuis (Province House) in Leuven.
As a theme for this 9th Congress, the ESU chose: ‘For a safe and social Europe’. The ESU expects Europe to be a ‘safe home’ and that peace, prosperity and democracy in Europe may be preserved and reinforced by economic growth and social protection. Of course, only a few topics related to these expectations could be covered:
The necessity to regain the trust of the citizens;
The justified expectation that Europe promotes economic growth and social protection and stimulates an inclusive society, in which older persons are fully valued as well;
Managing the refugee and migration crisis and guaranteeing security and safety for all citizens.
Several inspiring speeches around this theme were held, among others by former European Council President Herman Van Rompuy about ‘The storm and Europe: an inseparable couple’. In addition, greetings were given by Joseph Daul (President EPP), Koen Geens (Belgian Minister of Justice), Wouter Beke (President CD&V) and Chris Taes (Chair of the Provincial Council of Vlaams-Brabant). Sus Bergmans (Interreg Vlaanderen-Nederland) and Marleen Van Hees (director ‘Care’ of Landelijke Thuiszorg) presented regional projects of ‘European support to build inclusive societies’. Apart from the speech of Herman Van Rompuy on Saturday, a panel discussion with Heinz K. Becker (MEP), Benoit Drèze (member of the Walloon Parliament) and Astrid Noklebye Heiberg, (Hoyre – Senior Policies) was moderated by prof. dr. Steven Van Hecke.
Further, ESU President An Hermans was re-elected, a new Presidium was chosen, Secretary General Guido Dumon and Treasurer Etienne Vanderroost were appointed, and the Leuven Declaration, highlighting the main concerns of seniors all over Europe, was adopted.
More pictures and the programme of the Congress can be found below.