Group of European Pensioners from Savings Banks and Financial Institutions

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Index of documents > Euromeetings Magazine > Euromeetings Number 8



IN all probability the European Union construction does not raise so great enthusiasm. After a generation characterized by lucidity and political generosity –Paul Henry

Spaak’s, Schumann’s, Jean Monnet’s generation– who got it going to create a real Union, the current generation grows with sluggishness: they are the new eurosceptics.

Many of them think that the EU has lost its initial democratic vigour; Brussels seems a powerful but distant and complex centre not so accessible to citizens’ problems and worries. We have the feeling that the diplomatic and political representation is watered down and the local governments, without the initial generous drive, are wasting time with pointless deals and they forget the importance of a common gesture of solidarity. However, the 'euro' exists, like all the works for the 'European Constitution', the enlargement process to the candidate states and the reinforcement of the role played so far by the European Parliament.

This scepticism is basically caused by the postponement of the so-called third pillar or 'social pillar'. In fact, so far the most important pillar has been the economic one. Only with the arrival of the new millennium the construction of the political pillar has been tackled; but the social one is still an ideology, even if it is the one which affects the most our citizens and the main means to weigh up the efficiency of a government. To a large extent, this imbalance, linked to the last economic crisis which caused setbacks in the social policy, to the economic instrumentation of the migratory flow, to the deterioration of the democratic vitality of coexistence, is the main cause of a sort of despondency, of lack of interest and a rejection before a reality now more and more complex, more and more adverse.

We need to face up to two serious problems. The first one: to come out powerless in the face of the world we are living in, to affirm that we are late and any action would be useless and to believe that we depend on those who decide for us. The second one: to send the problem to young people under the pretext that they will decide the strain other words: in an European way. Thanks to all the legitimate and democratic representing bodies –such as our Group–, pensioners are entitled to defend their rights and all the social aspects. We do not want to defend provileges; nor to accentuate the differences that exist among all the member countries.

On the contrary, we expect to avoid that our social achievements would be demolished by the government on duty. We have to manage to turn the social pillar into a real action in the EU, so that the initial project planned by the founder members –a european society capable of offering a good standard of living, education, public health, social care, rehabilitation if necessary both for workers and pensioners– could come true.

I think that the measure I am referring to, adopted in Palma de Majorca, is the most suitable form of action. We have established the basis for a project in which our Group is get involved to defend pensioners’ rights in solidarity. Today in Italy, but tomorrow maybe another member country could need our support to fight against this kind of discrimination. But I am sure this is the right way. Without scepticism nor despondency. Only active involvement, constant care, participation in the forums organized by the EU –in this case a pensioners’ staff– to demand solidarity, to allow citizens to play the role of citizens of the European Community, to fight so european citizen could be synonym of support, democracy and freedom.

In his speech during the closing session of the Euromeeting in Palma de Majorca, Mr Jean Vauriot affirmed: '... we, pensioners, went from hope to desappointment; from desappointment to discrimination; from discrimination to humiliation.' Palma de Majorca and the measures adopted must set an example of methodology and inflexion.

Bringing it to a halt and give it up would mean a renounciation of our european citizenzs’ condition. So, as well as the democratic defence of the clauses that guarantee the european social plan, wherever it is an antisocial policy, we must fight vigorously in the name of a 'Golden European Solidarity'.

Diego Carrasco Eguino
Professor of the University of Alicante