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The official opening of the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations in Italy took place on 18th April 2012 in a widely attended event, with the presence of Andrea Riccardi, Italian Minister for International Cooperation, Integration and Family Policies. The presentation was held at the Sala Polifunzionale of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers in Rome.
Alessandro Giordani, EC representative in Rome, introduced in his speech the main objectives of EY 2012. "There cannot be inclusive growth unless we make sure all age groups in society are also included", he declared, and added: "Europe needs to champion the debate and the data collection around the active ageing issue, in order to then decide and design the most effective policies and apply them".
"Young people know how to run fast, but seniors know the shortcuts". With this metaphor, Maciej Kucharczyk, from Age Platform Europe, depicted the importance of elderly people in society and the crucial role of initiatives like the European Covenant of Mayors coordination of a research on demographic change, and the creation of a virtual network within the WHO Age-friendly Environments Programme.
During the launch, the presidents of the Liguria, Lazio and Campania regions announced legislative measures on the issue of active ageing would be adopted.
Minister Riccardi's speech put special emphasis in the commitment of Italy with the European Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations, given the fact that ageing is a demographic trend in Italian society. "We have to fight a social battle. We need to convey a basic truth: that all of us are seniors too". Minister Riccardi stressed the importance of building socially active support networks for elders, in order to help them overcome the dangers of loneliness and solitude.
As part of the initiative to disseminate these concepts in schools and educational institutions, the Minister listed a series of agreements at the regional level, to support activities that will allow seniors and preschoolers to relate with each other.
A video was shown during the presentation, outlining a project which was conducted in 12 Italian towns, where children in primary schools taught the elder how to use a computer. Furthermore, it was announced that an award of 70,000 EUR will be established for initiatives that promote active ageing and solidarity between generations.
Pictures of the event are available here.