>> In The Spotlight
The European Year 2012 Awards - Open for Nominations
The European Commission has launched the European Year 2012 Awards in order to celebrate organisations and individuals that promote active ageing through their activities.
The competition is open until 1 September 2012 and nominations can be submitted in six categories: Workplaces for all Ages, Towards Age-Friendly Environments, Social Entrepreneurs, Reporting on Ageing and Relations between Generations, Life Story Challenge and generations@school.
All citizens of EU Member States and those of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway may take part. The finalists in each category will be invited to the EY2012 Active Ageing Awards ceremony, which is planned to take place in November in Brussels.
More information on how to participate is available here.
Contribute in October to the first European Seniorforce Day
Every year, on 1 October, countries all over the world celebrate the International Day of Older Persons. This year, in the context of the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations, public authorities and volunteer organisations all over Europe are invited to devote one day – either 1 October or any other day in October – to find new ways of engaging senior volunteers and making the most of their contributions.
The idea behind this first European Seniorforce Day is to mobilise people 60+ who have plenty to offer their families and communities and come up with answers to take advantage of this formidable potential force.
The EY2012 official website will publish a selection of the best contributions to the European Seniorforce Day. You may send an email with a short description of your planned activity to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Committee of the Regions stresses the need to promote age-friendly environments
On May 4th the Committee of the Regions (CoR) agreed unanimously on the Opinion drafted by Arnoldas Abramavicius on “Active Ageing: Innovation, Smart Health, Better Lives”, which was requested by the Danish Presidency.
In this Opinion, the CoR stresses the need to promote age-friendly environments to respond to the needs of the ageing population and calls on the European Commission to launch a European Covenant of Mayors on Demographic Change as a legacy to the European Year 2012. This Covenant would gather local and regional authorities interested in promoting innovation, smart health and better lives solutions in support of active and healthy ageing.
The CoR also supports the proposal made under the European Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP-AHA) to set up a European Network on Age-Friendly Environments and welcomes AGE Platform Europe and World Health Organisation efforts to initiate such network.
The European Commission publishes “The 2012 Ageing Report”
The European Commission has released “The 2012 Ageing Report: Economic and budgetary projections for the EU27 Member States (2010-2060)”, analysing the economic and budgetary impact of an ageing population over the long-term.
The long-term age-related expenditure projections provide an indication of the timing and scale of changes in economic developments that could result from an ageing population in a ‘no-policy change’ scenario. The projections show where (in which countries), when, and to what extent ageing pressures will accelerate as the baby-boom generation retires and average life span in the EU continues to increase.
The report, presented to the ECOFIN council in May 2012, details the expenditure projections covering pensions, health care, long-term care, education and unemployment transfers for all Member States. A statistical annex gives a country-by-country overview of the main assumptions and results.
On the basis of current policies, age-related public expenditures are projected to increase by 4.1 percentage points to around 29% of GDP between 2010 and 2060. Public pension expenditure alone is projected to rise by 1.5 percentage points to nearly 13% of GDP by 2060.
April 29th, a special day to celebrate Solidarity between Generations in Europe
Needless to say that this year the European Day of Solidarity between Generations, being the theme of the EY2012, was a very special celebration on April 29.
AGE Platform Europe and the EY2012 Coalition particularly encouraged their members to host activities or create initiatives to highlight and celebrate the day, attracting the attention of politicians at European, national, regional and local levels on how to rethink the concept of solidarity between generations and how to support civil society initiatives on intergenerational cooperation.
Currently integrated by more than 60 European organisations, the EY2012 Coalition continues expanding. The latest incorporations are The Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) and the European Social Insurance Platform (ESIP).
>> Country Highlights
Germany launches a new strategy on demography
The German government approved on April 25 a new strategy on demography called "Jedes Alter zählt" (Every age counts). The strategy, presented by the Federal Minister of Interior, Hans-Peter Friedrich, includes proposals on how Germany can take advantage of future opportunities and the potential of demographic change in order to secure long-term growth and prosperity. One day prior to the approval of the plan by the ministers, Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the “Jedes Alter zählt” strategy with leaders from cities and towns across Germany, academics and elderly care experts during a major demography conference at the Chancellery in Berlin. "This issue demands our greatest attention" she said, pointing out that “the really goods news is that we are living longer and staying healthy longer and can stay active as we age.".
Austria leads the way launching a Federal plan for seniors
The Senior Citizens Council (Seniorenrat) and the Austrian Interdisciplinary Platform on Ageing (ÖPIA) organised on May 29th in Vienna an all-day symposium in the Parliament devoted to the Seniorenplan, a recently completed Federal plan on the social integration and quality of life of senior citizens in Austria. The plan is an important guideline and list of objectives in order to enable older people to ensure their active involvement and participation in all spheres of life.
Elderly citizens present the “Statement of the Seniors” during the launch of the European Year in Spain
The Spanish Minister of Health, Social Services and Equality, Ana Mato, received from the hands of the seniors associations the first draft of the “Statement of the Seniors” during the launch of the EY2012 on April 26th in Avila. The video “You keep being the protagonist of your life”, produced by the EC Representation in Spain and the European Parliament Office in Spain was presented during the event.
>> Active Agers
Mamy Rock, the star of the Festival of Europe in Brussels
Ruth Flowers, alias Mamy Rock, turned Brussels’ Luxembourg Square into a giant outdoor disco on May 12th. The most famous “grandma DJ” was the musical highlight of the Festival of Europe, the annual Open Day of the EU institutions in Brussels.
“If I can help get the message across through music, helping people understand that just because we get older doesn’t mean we stop functioning, then I’ll be really happy knowing that I have helped bring the younger and older generations closer together”, said the 69 year-old British DJ before her rocking performance.
Asked about what would she say to people who think life ends at 60, her recipe is very clear: “I’d say, don't even give it a thought, eat well and exercise. [...] There is something out there for each one of us, so when you have time in your later years to indulge in a new adventure, go for it!”
Two digital grannies, finalists of the 2012 e-Inclusion awards
Angela Gallagher, a 60+ active-ager from Ireland, and Joy Matthews, a Welsh 75 years old retired medical secretary, where both finalists of the 2012 e-Inclusion awards, handed out by the European Commission on June 22nd at the Digital Agenda Assembly in Brussels.
Angela’s keen involvement with digital technologies was selected by the jury as one of the three finalists in the I am Part of IT personal stories/big organisations category. "The online world is a godsend to those of us who find ourselves living alone,” she says.
Joy, one of the three finalists in the I am Part of IT small organisations/individuals category, is using digital technologies to make real changes and to “get involved with my local community and lobby on issues I am passionate about."
Famous seniors collaborate with the generations@school programme
The generations@school programme invites all schools in Europe to open the doors of their classrooms to older generations and explore how the dialogue between generations can contribute to a better education and a better understanding of each other.
Many celebrities have accepted the invitation to participate in this initiative and have spent some fruitful hours with young students across Europe, such as:
- Andrea Camilleri. One of Italy's most eminent writers, he was received by the students of the Liceo Classico Virgilio at their school in Rome on May 11th. "Life always has the same meaning and significance for all, whatever the period you live in or the age you have" said 87 years old Camilleri, arguing that "the old are marginalized because they are no longer considered useful to society, but living is not only about production, is also about memory and affection".
- Koos Richelle. The Director-General of the Directorate General Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, together with Jimmy Jamar, Head of the Representation of the European Commission in Belgium, visited on May 14th the Woonzorgcentrum Zoniën retirement home and the Gemeentelijke school, in Tervuren. Both participated in the project Wheelchair Carwash, in which pupils clean the wheelchairs of the retirement home’s elderly. "This is where the interaction between generations really takes place", declared Mr. Richelle.
- Uschi Glas. The well-known German actress visited the primary school Grundschule am Ravensburger Ring in Munich on June 22nd. During the visit, Glas and other active seniors from the BrotZeit non-profit organisation prepared a rich breakfast for children from over 30 different nations. Afterwards they all sat together, engaged in a cheerful conversation and sang songs.
- Dalia Teišerskytė. The respected Lithuanian journalist, poet and politician visited the Vilnius SOS Youth Centre on June 27th. During the encounter students listened to Ms. Teišerskytė share some of her personal experiences while living in the exile in Siberia. Her testimony opened a rich debate with the young audience about the main problems of Lithuania’s youth, such as emigration and unemployment.
>> Be Inspired
Mixed teams of adolescents (15 to 25 years) and older persons (45+) who are employed in companies, organizations or institutions in Austria are invited to submit their ideas and creative suggestions and proven good practice examples of solidarity between generations at their workplaces.
The Körber Foundation has decided to focus on the issue of ageing launching the campaign "Reinventing Old Age". The objective is to create new images of old age by holding a series of events along the year in several German cities and by collecting people's wishes and ideas for their old age.
“Ping Pong, Never Too Old for Gold” is an encouraging British feature length documentary featuring a group of pensioners from across the planet competing in the over-80s World Table Tennis Championships in Inner Mongolia. The movie, presented in March during the UK launch event of the EY2012, was officially launched on July 2nd and will travel to cinemas and outdoor events until the end of September.
The association Fées du Sport has launched a school in Aquitaine (France) offering basic bicycle training and safety instruction for women and elderly citizens. The association anticipates a very productive, intergenerational exchange among the younger members of the organisation and the elderly citizens who take advantage of the bike school.
How do I take a bus service? How can I find information online about travel destinations and travel times? In order to help seniors get used to the public transport, Mobiel 21 is leading the project PT-Ambassadors. The aim of this initiative is to contribute to raise awareness among senior citizens in Flanders and Brussels on the importance of sustainable mobility and encourage them to use public transport more often.
>> Save the Date
Glasgow - 13-17 August, 2012
Kiel - September 17-18, 2012
Vienna - September 18-20, 2012