The yearly fraternisation of our European Group took place in the thermal spa region of Chianciano Therme, in Tuscany, Italy; where the delegations of Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Portugal and United Kingdom got together. In this XXII Euromeeting, the visits had the same quality and standard as what the Organisation offered us the other years. However, the Euromeetings are not just about tourism and fraternisation. This is what our friend Christa Saia will write about…
The management bodies of the European Group had working sessions according to their statutes during our stay in Chianciano Terme.
The working sessions began on the 14th of May with the Board of Director’s meeting, in which according to the working agenda, the following most important points were underlined: Change of the seat of the European Group and change of the statutes, the financial analysis of the European Group and of the Euromeetings and the presentation for the 2016 budget, report on the President’s activities, work of the Work and Study Group (GET), and current issues. In the Ordinary Assembly of Delegates, the same working agenda was followed just as in the Extraordinary Assembly of Delegates where the proposition to change the statutes was analysed and approved. This change is related to article n°4 - Seat.
We decided to establish the Social Seat in Calle Antonio de Cabezón, 29 - 28034 MADRID (Spain).
The issue discussed in the meeting this year was “How to ensure the “Silver Economy” will support the rights of equal participation of the elderly”. In the document related to this issue, created according to the opinions given in the conferences by the delegates from different countries, the common concerns and aspirations were expressed, despite the different political, historical, social and economic realities. All of this was debated in the Work and Study Group (GET) meeting and after an intense exchange of ideas, we agreed on the document that needs to be presented to the President of the AGE Platform Assembly, taking place in November.
Likewise, it is made up of some of the summarised conclusions that will be presented to the European Commission, as it is established in the previous pages.
In the Ordinary General Assembly, pivotal point of the Euromeeting, different aspects were presented: the activity report of the President, the nomination of the President of Honour of the European Group, the conferences of the delegates of the different countries relating to the issue “How to ensure the “Silver Economy” will support the rights of equal participation of the elderly”, and the conference of the Italian speaker, Dr. Francesco Chittolina, who was invited this year.
The “Silver Economy” is a concept that was set up in the last years as a need for the rising inversion of the demographic pyramid that comes from a constant reduction of the birth rate in Europe. Its objective is to give an answer to the potential market of goods, desirably innovative, that exists to meet the needs of the elderly. It could therefore alleviate the public expense as a consequence to those needs which will enable a better quality of life.
The speech of the invited speaker, “Europe: Between a Weak Memory and an Uncertain Future, a Rich and Dramatic History”, was clear and we could see that he knew a great deal about Europe’s history. He talked about the misunderstandings of its people, which often resulted in terrible conflicts, reaching their highest point in the XX Century with the two tragedies we all know: the World War I, also known as the European War or the Great War and the World War II. The consequences were so serious for the Europeans that a political solution was imposed to build solid bridges, resolve future disagreements, foster a feeling of unity and belonging to the continent, taking into account the objective of defence and peace. This dream made Robert Schuman, Jean Monnet, Konrad Adenauer, Alcide de Gasperi and Paul-Henri Spaak create the Treaty of Paris in 1951 to form the European Coal and Steel Community, spark of the future treaties that created the institutions that today act as a guardian to Europe. A complicated history then began, with crises and recoveries, but without a significant progress in the political union, like its founders had longed for. It therefore became difficult to make it a reality with the current 28 members and was worsened by mistrust or even hostility towards the European Union institutions.
After an exhaustive reflexion on the different vicissitudes that have etched Europe, the speaker focused on the urgent need to create new treaties, new institutions and new policies that need to be carried out by the determination of men and women able to surpass the national interests to reach the common good, supported by the close and constant relation with all European citizens and not only with the electors of their nationality.
There is still a lot to do as far as the political work of the citizens is concerned and it does not only involve the ruling classes, it is only this way that we will be able to construct a People’s Union and not only a State’s Union, which may have been justified at the beginning of the European construction, but inadequate to resolve the problems today.
The Euromeeting ended by the conviction of the participants that the citizens are the ones that need to play an active role to defend their lives, and not accept the rules of the game that gives them the passive role of spectators.
See you next year in Portugal, where its traditional hospitality and natural beauty will give to the members of the European Group that will get together for the XXIII Euromeeting, the opportunity to live together and strengthen even more the ties that unite us as European citizens.
Delegate of the Assembly