Seniors exploring the future of Europe

Engaging meetings

The European Seniors’ Union (ESU) held its first meetings of 2020 in Prague from 5 to 7 March. As in previous years, Vice-President Lidmila Nemcova took responsibility for local, practical arrangements and brought specific elements into the programme. Her cooperation is highly appreciated.

Nearly 45 delegates from across Europe announced their participation in the meetings of the ESU Presidency and Executive Committee. On the agenda of the administrative bodies: the annual report of 2019, the financial results of the past years, the budget for 2020, decisions on the membership contribution & proposals for the upcoming events in 2020.  After discussions and exchanges of experience from across Europe, President An Hermans and Secretary General Guido Dumon thanked all delegates for their cooperation and called for strengthening the bridge between senior citizens’ associations in their own country and the ESU at European level.

Our Annual Report of 2019 presents an overview of ESU activities, highlighting the importance of the European elections in May 2019 and the triennial ESU Congress in Sandanski in September 2019.

At the end of the meeting, the Executive Committee adopted a resolution tabled by the German delegation of CDU and CSU: “Brutalization of language, violence against people: danger to society, peace, democracy and the rule of law”. (See: English and German version) Since most delegates recognized this behaviour in their own country, they were encouraged to emphasize this problem at home as well.

Looking forward to the future

The audience welcomed several interesting speakers who introduced the audience to the challenges and opportunities of the near European future. During our ESU meetings in Prague 5-7 March, we received several interesting speakers: Mr. Jan Bartosek, Vice-President of the Christian democratic political party KDU-ČSL, leader of the Christian deputies Club presented the actual strategy of KDU-ČSL – with regards to the political and economic situation in the Czech Republic and the EU; Peter Mach, President of the ZKS – Slovakia, former Director of the Slovak Statistical Office focused on Demographic development in the Czech Republic and in Slovakia in comparison with the EU. In line with Eurostat, he distinguished three age groups: ‘young older people’, from 65 to 79 years old; ‘old people’, over 80 years old yours and ‘very old people’, over 90 years old. He stressed that life expectancy is still increasing and that the future quality of life and state of health of older people is improving. Jan Málek, political scientist, director of the European Academy of Democracy in Prague, presented an analysis of the development of politics in the CR. He presented the political priorities and expectations for the near future and described how the KDU-CSL is struggling with the tendencies of populists, both in government and in society as a whole.

Prof. Steven Van Hecke, KULeuven, presented the successes and failures of recent European policy and highlighted future challenges and perspectives. After reflection by delegates from all over Europe (on migration, on border control, on the need to implement the social pillar, on climate change…) and dynamic discussions, we could count on Vice-President Heinz Becker to express the concerns, disappointments, but also the expectations and hopes of senior citizens in Europe in a motion for a resolution.

Securing the quality of life of all generations in Europe

This resolution is based on the ESU declaration of Sandanski ‘Senior citizens standing up for Europe’ and on recent resolutions of the EPP and initiatives of the European Commission.

How can we guarantee the quality of life in Europe for both young and old? Only by being faithful to each other can we meet the challenges of the future and maintain a good quality of life with certainty and a future for all generations. Our only chance is to work together as much as possible! In this global world, no country can solve problems on its own, but is called upon to work together towards common goals.

The engaging discussions and deliberations led to a resolution, expressing the vision and hope of the seniors. (See Prague Resolution)

On the 7th of March prospections and plans were made for the upcoming events. The first is the Summer Academy in Vienna, 2-4 July.

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