ExCo meeting in Leuven- Side Event

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

At the invitation of the President of the ESU, An Hermans, the meeting was convened between Ms. Els Van Hoof – Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives, and Ms. Rozália Biró. The meeting took place as a side meeting of the ESU Executive Committee Meeting (EXCO). Ms. Rozália Birówho is also the President of the Women’s Organisation of the European People’s Party, was invited to the ESU EXCO meeting as a special guest.

The parties discussed some key aspects of Europe’s foreign and security policy in light of current geopolitical shifts. The talks focused on Russia’s war in Ukraine and its repercussions on political, economic, and societal levels, as well as the disruptive impact of Russia’s propaganda in the Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership countries. Special attention was paid to increased security risks in the Black Sea region.

Ms. Els Van Hoof noted that on 9 march, the Belgian federal parliament’s Chamber of Representatives adopted a resolution recognizing the 1932-33 famine in Ukrainian (known as the Holodomor, caused by the Stalin regime), as genocide. The text received nearly unanimous support. More than 20 countries around the world officially recognized the Holodomor as the genocide of the Ukrainian people.

Ms. Biró touched upon the importance of Romania’s membership in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Romania is not yet a full member of the OECD due to the country’s challenges related to practical adherence to the Fiscal Responsibility Law. These difficulties in the reform process are related to Romania’s slow start in its transition to a market economy as well as its difficult structural re-adjustment. Ms. Biró highlighted the OECD Council’s decision of 25 January 2022, which opened accession discussions with Romania and expressed her hope that Belgium would continue its support of Romania’s OECD membership process.

Ms. Biró also discussed the importance of Romania’s membership in the Schengen Area. Today, the Schengen Area encompasses most EU countries, except for Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ireland, and Romania. Additionally, also the non-EU States Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein have joined the Schengen Area. On 1 January 2023, Croatia became the newest member state to join the Schengen area. However, Romania, which joined the European Union in 2007, still experiences difficulties in acceding to the Schengen Area due to Austria’s resistance. Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer claims that many unregistered migrants or asylum seekers would come from those countries to Austria. The number of asylum requests in Austria tripled last year to 108,490 applications, making it the EU nation with the sharpest increase overall.

The Chairpersons also discussed the EU’s enlargement process and its transformative role for the Western Balkan and the Eastern Partnership countries. Taking into account the importance of societal resilience in the enlargement process, Ms. Biró and Ms. Van Hoof praised the ESU’s efforts in highlighting societal challenges in the ESU work and reflected that more institutional and policy innovation is needed from various actors to address prospects and challenges of the EU’s widening.

Finally, the parties agreed to strengthen the parliamentary dimension of cooperation and to increase the dynamics of bilateral visits. These contacts will be particularly important in a view of the upcoming election year. In 2024 in addition to the European Parliament elections, both countries will have a busy political period – Belgium will hold federal, regional, provincial, and communal elections, while Romania will organize local, parliamentary, and presidential elections. These elections come amid profound geopolitical changes, which will require active cooperation and coordination of the pro-EU constructive forces across Europe.


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 & Challenges for the EU


3rd Day of the ESU Summer Academy with guest speaker Herman Van Rompuy, Emeritus President of the EU Council

'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.

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.