The Polish Minister of Labour and Social Policy, Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz, officially launched the European Year of Active Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity during the “Get Involved!” conference held in Warsaw on February 8th.
Poland cannot afford to waste the potential of its older people, their education, rich knowledge, experience and commitment, remarked minister Kosiniak-Kamysz. "We must not bring older generations to act as a guarantor of the continuity of pensions or reduce their role to the one of a free nanny. It is, after all, them who through hard work, in much tougher conditions, built the Poland in which we live today. Now, they have the right to spend the rest of the life as they want – continuing to work, caring for their grandchildren or resting", he said.
Michał Szczerba, Deputy of the Sejm; Mieczysław Augustyn, senator and chairman of The Family and Social Policy Committee; Ewelina Jankowska-Luca, vice director of the European Commission Representation in Warsaw, and the Vice President of the European Platform AGE, Halina Potocka, also participated in the opening ceremony. Their speeches emphasized that older people have a great potential in the labour market and local communities.
The “Get Involved!” conference included several debate sessions, the first one devoted to employment and older people and the second one to disseminate good practices in Poland related to active ageing and solidarity between generations. Several institutions were invited to speak about their concrete actions in these fields in a session moderated by Professor Ewa Kozdroń, from the association ESPAR 50 +.
Finally, a third debate analysed ways to increase the social activity of older people through volunteering.
The National EY 2012 Coordinator, Czesława Ostrowska, closed the conference highlighting that the discussion on active aging will continue along the year with a succession of activities throughout Poland.