The European Day of Solidarity between Generations
The European Day of Solidarity between Generations was launched in 2009 by the European Parliament and the European Commission as part of the European Year of Solidarity between Generations. Its aim is to raise awareness of the importance of intergenerational solidarity and to promote dialogue and cooperation between people of all ages. The day is celebrated every year on April 29th, and various events and activities are organized throughout Europe to highlight the contributions of different generations and to foster greater understanding and respect between them. Solidarity between generations is seen as a key factor in creating a more cohesive and sustainable society, and the European Day of Solidarity between Generations serves as a reminder of the need to work together across age groups to achieve common goals.
See also Age Platform Europe, find more information on the 29th of april on their website.
On the request of our colleagues the Seniors of Cyprus, organising a common event with young people, President An Hermans has written the following text:
Solidarity between generations: a building block for democracy
Dear ladies and gentlemen,
Since 2008, the EU has recommended the annual celebration of cooperation and solidarity between generations. Solidarity is a fundamental principle that underpins our societies and is crucial for the integration of Europe. The ‘founding fathers of Europe’ recognized that Europe could not be built overnight, and that it requires continuous collaborative effort. As highlighted in the Schuman Declaration of 1950, we must work together every day to build a better Europe.
“Europe will not be made all at once,
or according to a single plan.
It will be built through concrete achievements which
first create a de facto solidarity.”
Our societies are currently navigating a complex and challenging period. The EU Commission’s priorities for the 2019-2024 governance period have been overshadowed by emergency measures necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent implementation of the EU and member states’ recovery plans. More recently, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused widespread destruction and changed the geopolitical power dynamics in the region. However, we must not forget the challenges that exist within Europe, such as protecting our citizens from threats such as unemployment, rising prices of essential goods, precarious employment, and increasing inequality. The Heads of State or Government, along with citizens, recognize the importance of responding collectively to these new challenges. Europe has demonstrated that solidarity is at the core of its response during emergencies, and it is a critical condition and powerful tool for effective action. Therefore, we must prioritize solidarity in our political agenda.
Solidarity is not only necessary in the public sphere to establish a fair and democratic society; it is also a dynamic principle that operates within our own personal lives, families, and living environments. At the family level, intergenerational relations are frequently characterized by interdependence and mutual support. Intergenerational solidarity at the family level involves the behavioural and emotional dimensions of interaction, cohesion, sentiment, and support between parents and children, grandparents, and grandchildren, over the course of long-term relationships. Despite the increasing individualization of life-course trajectories and significant country variations, we must still prioritize warm and sustainable family relations. Solidarity between generations is essential for care and cohesion in families, inclusiveness in neighborhoods and communities, and it is a building block for social and economic justice and cooperation, a crucial precondition for democracy. Generations that interact can learn from each other, appreciate each other’s abilities, needs, and hopes. There are numerous domains where cooperation between young and older people can be optimized, leading to positive results for individuals and society, such as: mutual learning situations, helpdesks for internet usage, employment support, and cultural activities.
This collaboration is the ideal breeding ground for joint initiatives. One of the most critical perspectives is the creation of an age-friendly society, where young and older generations can live, work, and play together, where public spaces and transportation are not obstacles for older people, and buildings and houses are accessible to everyone. As civil society associations, we must support and encourage governments to promote and support these age-friendly societies. We must be grateful for the era of increasing life expectancy we live in and promote aging as an integrating dimension in the life cycle. Above all, we must support people-centered politics in all areas and create openness for more democracy and participation.
Let us make it happen.
I wish you a joyful celebration of solidarity between generations.