Celebration 20th anniversary ESU: Continuing the road towards a value driven Europe

On the 6th of November 2015 the European Seniors’ Union (ESU) celebrated its 20th anniversary in the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) in Brussels. In this celebration the importance of improving the relationship between citizens and policy makers was highlighted. After the welcoming message of ESU President An Hermans and Luc Van den Brande, Vice-President of the CoR, Joseph Daul , President of the European People’s Party (EPP) addressed the people present through a video message: “Cooperation between the member associations and the EPP is an asset for everyone. It is an asset for the EPP, because it allows us to stay in touch with the actual demands of the citizens: women, youth, students, workers, SMEs, and of course seniors.”

Furthermore, the ESU-video ‘My Story, our Europe‘ premiered.It was done to emphasize the role that each of us has as a mirror and as leverage in the society. Many older persons witnessed where war and injustice lead to and therefore they assiduously strive to a united Europe. The movie attempts to start intergenerational dialogues with young people. “We do not want a gap between generations”, said President Hermans. “In respectful conversations between generations we want to develop common perspectives and, beyond generations, continue building a Europe that is united in solidarity and responsibility.” This was followed by a panel discussion with Eva Majewski, Honorary Chairwoman of the European Democrat Students (EDS); Lawrence Cappelle, Head of Office of the European Union of Christian Democratic Workers (EUCDW); and Marilyn Neven, Programme Manager of International IDEA Office to the EU.

Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, mentioned in her video speech that “Enabling older people to contribute more to the economy and society strengthens solidarity between generations, and helps to combat poverty and social exclusion. I will seek to promote active ageing in employment, societal participation and independent living.”

It was then time to go ‘back to the future’ with Prof. Steven Van Hecke of the Catholic University of Leuven, who gave an overview of 20 years European Seniors’ Union and the background in which this happened.

Furthermore, after some reflections about the ESU were made by Carmen Quintanilla, Vice-President of the ESU, the necessary and well-deserved tribute was paid to Dr. Bernhard Worms, President of the ESU for 12 years and succeeded by An Hermans in 2013. They were  awarded by Prof. Nikolay Andreev, Vice-President of the ESU with a golden medal for their work from the Technical University of Sofia, Bulgaria. President An Hermans then took the opportunity to thank all other persons who played an important role in the history of the ESU.

Dr. Bernhard Worms continued by giving some new perspectives for ‘Youth and Seniors in Europe’ and introducing a new foundation: Jugend und Senioren für Europa. President Hermans concluded by looking into the future of the ESU towards a value driven Europe.

When the technical support failed to play the European Anthem to round off the celebration, the European seniors showed their adaptability by singing the anthem a cappella.


Events in 2015

EPP Statutory Congress

Madrid - Spain

On 21-22 October 2015, the ESU actively participated in the EPP Congress in Madrid.

Regional Conference: elderly abuse and exploitation

Larnaca - Cyprus

On 16 September 2015, several delegations arrived in Larnaca for the ESU regional conference on "Elderly abuse and exploitation".

Food4Thought - Europe's Senior Voters

Brussels - Belgium

On 1 October 2015, the ESU organised a Food for Thought event together with the Wilfried Martens Centre about 'Europe's Senior Voters'.

International Day of Older Persons 2015


On the occasion of the Internationial Day of Older Persons 2015, ESU President An Hermans wrote a message.

Regional Conference: Lifelong learning and active ageing

Münster - Germany

On 11-12 September 2015, the ESU and the Senioren-Union der CDU Deutschlands organised a Regional Conference around Lifelong Learning and Active Ageing.

ESU visiting Cyprus and its seniors' organisation

Nicosia - Cyprus

On 9-10 September 2015, the President and Secretary General of the ESU visited Cyprus and its seniors' association.

Summer Academy 2015: Citizens' Security in the EU

Vienna - Austria

On 3-5 July, the Summer Academy of the ESU took place in Vienna around 'Citizens' Security in the EU'.

Convention of Hoyre Seniors

Bergen - Norway

On 20-21 March 2015, the ESU President and Secretary-General participated in the Convention organized by the Hoyre Seniors in Bergen, Norway.