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:

  1. The necessity to regain the trust of the citizens;
  2. 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;
  3. 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.


Events in 2016

Regional Conference: Civil society and active participation

Ljubljana - Slovenia

On 21-22 October 2016, the ESU and its Slovenian member organisations organised a regional Conference on Civil society and active participation.

International Day of Older Persons


On the occasion of the International day of Older Persons on 1 October 2016, the ESU released a message of ESU President Hermans.

Summer Academy 2016: Europe must not fail

Vienna - Austria

'Europe must not fail' that was the title of the 7th Summer Academy (1-3 July 2016), organized by the ESU and the Österreichischer Seniorenbund.

Regional Conference: Active ageing and the participation of seniors in public life

Budapest - Hungary

For a two-days Conference in Budapest, the ESU could count on the Robert Schuman Institute, Fidesz and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.

Launch of the Foundation 'Youth and Seniors for Europe'

Brauweiler-Pulheim - Germany

To mark the European Day of Solidarity Between Generations dr. Bernhard Worms organised the launch of the Foundation 'Youth and Seniors for Europe'.