Group of European Pensioners from Savings Banks and Financial Institutions


Index of documents > Euromeetings Magazine > Euromeetings Number 9

When I was just a little boy my father told me that, during the Spanish civil post-war period, a time markedamong other things- by the horrible lack of materials, a book titled 'MEANSí CUISINE' appeared. In addition to other marvellous discoveries, at a time where there was hardly anything to eat, it contained absurd recipes such as the following one: 'How to cook baked sea bream without an oven and without sea bream'.

Maybe, on this summer 2004, politicians and European citizens would have needed a reference manual, now dedicated to politics, with some kind of recipe praying: 'How to build Europe up without European citizens'. And I say all this because the first grief, caused when the Polish and Spanish Governments stood up the Constitution, was followed by the popular shock of the European population who abstained in mass at the elections to the Unionís Parliament. It is true that the road to assume the Convention (Constitution) is now easier, among other reasons, because of the attitude modification encouraged by the new Spanish government. But the fact is that, beyond the trends of each country, in my opinion, the European citizens have been plain with their abstention that shows they donít want the Union to be built behind their backs and leaving their problems aside. Sincerely, I donít think the citizens have lost interest in Europe; on the contrary, I think the citizensí message is that they, we, that is, people, are Europe. And

that, therefore, without the people, without their culture, without their reality, any political voluntarism, as much well-meaning as it may be, is called to become an Illustrated Despotism, and the Age of Despotism in Europe is past history ages ago. Considering this matter, one may wonder: 'What has it to do with the Group?'. I think it has a lot of things to do, because the sense of history time that presides over the Unionís changes is tightly linked to the future of our Group.

Our history (the Groupís one) reveals that we have already been able to accomplish several periods. At the beginning- Mr BERNABEUís presidency- first of all, it was about establishing and shaping the existence of an organism that arised like the expression of lucidity and will of a few people. They were times foundation times in which, one of the main worries was to say in a loud and clear voice that we existed, that we wished to be Europe and that, since some time ago, we had an idea of Europe. Later on, during Mr LID”Nís presidency, the Group was consolidated; its existence was completely accepted and, together with a determined will, appeared a more and more important praxis. In this consolidation the Euromeetings have been conclusive; because it was not only about acquiring the habit of effective coexistence- independently of the fact that there is always someone, here and there, thinking that what is important is to join oneís people, because the others are foreigners and we all know that foreigners, always strange, are not very trusty-; no. What is important, and what we are obtaining with difficulty, is to think like Europeans, to act together as they do and to collaborate effectively in the creation and transformation of a Union that wants and knows how to figure on its elderlies.

Now we are in the age of Mr. LOPEZís Presidency. The term of office has been shortened. The Unionís continuous enlargements, the need of assuming the Europeanís social realities, naturally open to a 'growth crisis'. Though we can be modestly satisfied with what has been achieved, it is true that the challenges set out by reality must be effectively assumed. In this way, the Groupís life, and one of its most noticeable expressions, the Euromeetings, canít only be a leisure holiday organized so we can all meet up. We know who we are and we know we exist. Our Euromeetings, from now on, must be progressively transformed, in a forum - in no time it will not be the only one- were analysis can be carried out and decisions taken. And it must be like this because there are various social problems affecting us: work life for those who are over 45 years old; the compatibility of a social Europe with a working, multiracial and multicultural Europe; the 'delocation' problems created by some companies, problems carrying fictitious social problems between populations and nations belonging to the Union; the problems having to do with participation in the social and the cultural life that the ethnic and social plurality carries. All these, only to mention some examples, are the problems that must be tackled with our presence and with the ideas and proposals that we are capable of elaborating from the European democratic consent, from the experience and the dialogue goodwill of whom have already seen too much to leave this task to be handled only by the 'administrators'; from the believing that the Union, with its plurilingual, pluricultural and pluriethic reality, necessarily means a Europe with a renewed ethic point of view willing to settle all of us down, in peace.

Because of all what has been mentioned, our Euromeetings, and starting from the eleventh one that is going to be held in Islantilla (Huelva), must include those subjects that have made the other Euromeetings succeed, new working meetings must be opened and must be capable of setting up and defining our lines of action, lines that must be fulfilled during the following year. Experience shows that, even though we have been able to detect the problems on which we must act, up until now we have been sluggish when having to stand in front of the Discussion European Forums. The eleventh Euromeeting must represent a turning point in our Group, so that neither the organization problems nor the coordination problems take us away from our principal aim: getting a good place between those deciding the European Policy. This implies that we must call ourselves to working hard, to solidarity, to updating our resources and to compromise.

Because if we donít stand on our toes we will find, and it will be our own fault, a 'meanís cuisine' in the constitution of a Social Europe and we wonít even have the right to kick about.

Diego Carrasco Eguino
Professor of the University of Alicante