A Remarkable Year 2018
Dear Members and Friends of the European Federation of Older Persons!
During the year 2018 EURAG has once more developed and performed quite an impressive programme and advanced considerably in its institutional structure, its visibility and its international recognition. I would like to share with you some highlights of our activities and performances.
Our two yearly General Council meetings in 2018 took place in Copenhagen/Denmark in May and in Reykjavik/Iceland in September. In both places participating EURAG representatives enjoyed tremendously the generous and warm hospitality of our organising member organisations in these countries and of our former president Gísli Páll Pálsson. In Copenhagen we had a most interesting thematical conference on the topic “Accessibility is the Necessity”, organised by our partners in the Danish Parliament, while in Reykjavik our policy conference dealt with the “hot” issue of“How Do We Care?”, with the involvement of the Icelandic Ministry of Health and the Social Department of the City of Reykjavik. In both countries we envisage further intensive cooperation with public authorities and new partners on issues of common interest – in particular the use of advanced technologies in elderly care. Furthermore, it has to be mentioned that the EURAG Memory Training Programme has been further expanded by our Secretary General, Dana Steinova. Her training courses in various European countries and internationally, in institutions and with member organisation, have received high appreciation and opened new networking perspectives.
Among the new members we have proudly welcomed this year figures the Russian Union of Pensioners with its more than 1.5 million adherents. This important organisation – which is very keen to establish an intensive and fruitful cooperation with all our network – has invited the EURAG President and Vice-President Miloš Vajs for a visit in April 2018 to their headquarters in Moscow. At this occasion the two representatives of EURAG met Mr.Ryazanski, the President and members of the bureau of the Russian Union of Pensioners and had intensive talks with the First Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Protection of the Russian Federation, with various high-ranked personalities of the Senate of the Russian Federation (the Upper Chamber) and with the Minister of Labour and Social Protection of the Government of the City of Moscow.The President of EURAG had also the honour to be invited to address the Senate’s Committee for Social Affairs in its ordinary session to present our organization and the perspectives of our future cooperation. The Senate was so interested in the results of a research project EURAG has played a key role in that it immediately got the publication “Making Choices for a Society for All Ages. A White Paper with recommendations for decision makers” translated into Russian, for a large distribution in the country.
Among others, EURAG has been involved in the following important events. In January 2018 we have contributed to a session in the United Nations in New York under the title “The Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing Meets the Sustainable Development Goal 1 – Responses to old-age poverty in the UNECE region”. Also, in January we delivered a keynote speech at the ALTTAG 2018 conference in Vienna on the issue “Living longer – Using one’s Potential”. It has been so well received that some weeks later the Austrian Radio Corporation produced a half hour interview with EURAG president on it. On the invitation of the Government of Moscow the President delivered in June a paper on “Why and how do older persons want to age at home?”at the Moscow Urban Forum 2018, a huge conference of the mega-cities of the world. In November we also made a presentation at the International Expert-Conference on Human Rights of Older Persons, organised by the Austrian Presidency of the European Union, on the topic “Older Persons and Very Advanced Technologies” and spoke at a symposium of Globale Seniorer in Copenhagen on“A Society for All Ages. How can we develop this society? Five key issues to be reflected upon”.
EURAG was represented at the conference of the AGE Platform Europe in October 2018 on “Towards a society for all ages: Why and how should regional authorities combat ageism” and in November at the Social Platform’s Flagship Conference in Lisbon on “Building Social Europe”. Representing the NGO Committee on Ageing the EURAG President will speak on 10 December, in the context of the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the United Nations Vienna, on present problems and challenges of fundamental human rights.
EURAG will prominently work in a study group for an own-initiative opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on “Economic, technological and social changes in advanced services for the elderly”, a very important issue for the members of our organisation and certainly a major topic for our intern debates and for an envisaged possible cooperation project with interested partners – as agreed by the last General Council meeting. Interesting may also be that the International Council on Social Welfare has just published a longer article by the EURAG President titled “The Future of the European Social Model – Considerations, Challenges, Developments” with a reflection onrecent EU social policy developments and prevailing problems”.
To finish with, I hope that you – and your whole family – can enjoy some happy, quiet and relaxing days at the end of this year 2018 and that you then will have a joyful and optimistic start into 2019. May it be for you a year with many moments of happiness, small and big successes in all your undertakings and, in particular, with solid health.
I very much hope to meet you again at our next General Council meetings and topical conferences that are scheduled for Vilnius in May 2019 and for Moscow in September 2019.
Dirk Jarré, November 2018