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Meeting with high-level European religious leaders

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"To tackle the economic crisis, we are doing a lot to ensure the right balance between solidarity and responsibility among Member States. But we need to devote at least as much attention to solidarity and responsibility among the young and the old."

"Ultimately, we will only be able to come out of this crisis and lay the foundations of a prosperous future if we keep solidarity between people and generations at the heart of our actions. This is the glue that holds our societies together," continued President Barroso He also very strongly defended the freedom of religion and condemned attacks on religious minorities.

Lack of solidarity and responsibility among young and old can bring a real risk for social peace. The year 2012 has been designated as the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between generations. "I want this year and today's meeting to become an agent for change," said the President.

He recalled numerous initiatives the European Commission has put forward to support and foster intergenerational solidarity. Starting with directives combating discrimination at the work place and on parental leave, through various programmes funded by European structural funds to recent steps targeted on enabling European youth (Action teams, Youth Opportunities Initiative). "Last but not least, our country-specific recommendations, just adopted by the Council, guide Member States through the sometimes painful path of reform for sustainable growth and convergence."

"Today's meeting is a very good occasion to exchange views on these huge challenges and the answers we are providing. Religious communities can make an important contribution to this. Churches and religious communities are well placed to build bridges in our societies," concluded President Barroso.

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List of participants

Press Release

European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between generations

More on the dialogue with churches, religious associations and communities