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Official launch of the European Year 2012 in Hungary

08/03/2012 Official launch of the European Year 2012 in Hungary

The European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations 2012 in Hungary was officially launched with a public conference on March 5th in Budapest.

The event, which took place at the Ministry of National Resources, started with a short concert of the Benyus Symphonic Orchestra, a three generations of musicians formation.

The opening speeches were delivered by Miklós Réthelyi, Minister of National Resources, and László Andor, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion.

The Minister reminded that “conditions for active ageing have to be created. This means that both, the society and the elderly people, should make every effort to ensure that those involved can live actively in health, preferably within the family.” Réthelyi said that the goal is to preserve health and self-care skills, but this requires a change in social attitudes.

Commissioner Andor said “We will not be able to meet two of the  targets of the Europe 2020 strategy without active ageing. Without it we cannot hope to raise the employment rate of people aged 20-64 to 75% or lift at least of 20 million people out of poverty by 2020”, adding that “all commitments count.”

Other participants in the ceremony were Emma Szegi, Mayor of Kaba, who presented her municipality's award-winning concept of a senior-friendly local government, and Sarolta Monspart, President of the National Leisure Sports Federation, who gave practical advices to the participants and at the end asked the audience to do some exercises right on the spot. “Sport cannot be substituted with any medicine”, she remarked.

The programme continued with a panel discussion, where various organisations (among them the Council of Senior Citizens, AGE Platform, Catholic Charity and the National Association of Large Families) discussed how to promote active ageing and solidarity between generations through good-practice examples and personal stories.

“We should not forget: raising awareness is much more important than the prevention itself”, concluded the discussion’s moderator, Erika Asztalosné Zupcsán, Deputy State Secretary of the Ministry of National Resources.

At the end of the day, storyteller András Berecz entertained the audience with a touching and instructive tale about active ageing.

The complete speech of Commssioner Andor can be downloaded here (in Hungarian).

Pictures of the event available here.