Group of European Pensioners from Savings Banks and Financial Institutions


Index of documents > Euromeetings Magazine > Euromeetings Number 8


THIS year the Savings Banks, Banks and similar Institutions Pensioners’ European Group celebrates his 10º birthday. In fact, it was in January 1993 when the first annual general meeting took place in Brussels. More than 300 people baptized this event – 170 Spanish people, 40 Belgian, 17 French, 6 Portuguese, 1 German and 60 companions.


The Group Statutes were approved by the Belgian Ministry of Justice by Order in Council in Motril (Spain), the summer residence of the King Balduino, on 8th April 1993 and they were published on the Belgian “Moniteur” on 26 August.


 André Coutant, the French Federation founder- President sent to Mr. Gérard Deprez, European deputy in Brussels and in the presence of the European Commission representative, Mr. Vasco de Oliveira, the famouse “Pensioners’ European Chart”.

But the creation process had already begun some years before. It originator was Mr. Francisco M. Bernabéu Penalva, the president of the Spanish confederate Banks Pensioners’ Federation who made this proposal during the annual general meeting in Santiago de Compostela in 1987. During the first meeting on 12nd November 1988, in Madrid, the founder document was drawn up and it was called “Declaration of Madrid”, In the event, sponsored by CECA, participated: Allué, CECA Director General; Bernabéu, President of the Spanish confederate Banks, SavingsBanks ans similar Institutions Pensioners’ Federation; Roger Miraglio, vice-presidente of the Fédération Nationale du Personnel Retraité des Caisses d’Épargne of France; Manuel Fernández Pereira da Cruz, ANAC President (Asociaçao Nacional dos Aposentados da Caixa Geral, of Portugal); and Raoul Maelstaf, of the ASLK/CGER pensioners’ Council (Caixa Général d’Épargne et Retrtaite, Belgium). The “Declaration of Madrid” proposed the creation of an Association which could bring together all the European banks pensioners. Mr. Atilio Sala, President of CARIPLO Pensioners from Italy, Mr. Albert Backendof, President of the Asociation des Rêtraìtes de la Caisse d’Épargne from Luxembourg and Sdeenek from Sweden adhered to this declaration.


In Zaragoza another meeting took place and all the countries quoted before clearly confirmed their adherence to a movement which crossed frontiers to join in the new Europe. According to the Chinese method, which establishes that the birthday is the moment of conception, the European Group is not 10 years old, but 15.

The founder members knew that is was a difficult task, that the coordination of all the countries (all European countries but different in nature, customs, structures) could not be carried out overnight and the way to the 15-member Europe was a long and complex project. Mr. Roger Miraglio, the Group’s vicepresidente, spoke about a Europe for pensioners from Gibraltar to the North Pole, from Sicily to Scotland, from the Atlantic to the Oder River.



It would be a long work because of the lack of harmonization in the national retired structures. Maybe only our governments know the solution, but it’s up to us to unit our points of view in a tolerant and confidential atmosphere.


The current statutes has been drawn up to allow pensioners from savings banks turn into banks to become a member of our Group. They also allow similar associations to adhere to it provided that they share our values and thay can help us to get better thanks to their top quality and wise representatives.


Mr. Francisco Bernabéu Penalva, our first President appointed in Brussels, indicated the right track helped by Mr. José Lidón Meseguer who succeed him as president in 1998. He consolidated the Group structures and he extended it to 8 member countries. Mr. José María Clemente (CECA advertising executive) designed the symbol of our Group, a seagull with the starry European flag.


The seagull reminds us of the famous story “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” by the american Richard Bach.


Since the official birth in 1993 only the founders took part in the annual meetings and, supposing they lived far one from another, the travelling expenses were too high and this precarious situation got problematic the future of our Group. To solve it Mr. Lidón planned and organized the first Euromeeting which entailed living all together during ten days in ISDABE, the savings banks International Residence located on the Spanish Costa del Sol. The interesting and cheap programme included touristic trips, reunions, Board of Directors and the annual general meeting. That Euromeeting in which took part 278 people was so successful that we decided to do it every year in different

places with more and more participants every time: ISDABE (1996, 1998 and 2001), Majorca (1997 y 2003), Benidorm and Alicante where an International Congress was celebrated (1999), Platja d’Aro (2000), Peñíscola (2002). Mr. Diego Carrasco Eguino, lecturer in Interpreting and Translation at the University of Alicante always attends the Euromeeting accompained by a team of ten interpreters. What’s more, since 1996 the magazine uromeetings is published in five languages and with some advertisements. At the moment we print almost 9.500 copies that are a wonderful medium for all of us and a valuable instrument to keep alive the connection between us.





In the Euromeeting celebrated in 1999 together with the International Congress A SOCIETY FOR ALL AGES, sponsored by the UNESCO, the “Declaration of Alicante” was promulgated. Afterwards it was sent to the UNESCO Spanish Commission to transmit it to the UNESCO’s branch in Paris.


 This “Declaration”, our Bible, establishes that pensioners have the same rights and duties than active citizens, so hey should integrate into our society to guarantee a better development, to promote the cooperation between every

social group, so that everyone could participate in social activities; we must take into account their specific aspects; we must promote close relationships between the social professional sectors and pensioners; we must launch an informative structure to inform pensioners about HOW they can take part in the “Cultural European Foundation” activities, use every medium, information or training means to stimulate a “New Culture” and finally demand participation in all the institutions as citizens with right to vote.


Mr. José Roberto López Martínez, Mr. José Lidón Meseguer successor since 2002, feel “continually innovated”. President Lidón goes on being part of our team. A new Executive Committee was created and its first initiative was a meeting in Brussels with representatives from “AGE”, a mediator between the European Commission and pensioners’ associations or the savings bank European Group’s representatives.

In 2004 the EU will be made up of 25 member countries. For this reason the entry of these countries into our Group would be the most desirable outcome. It is our objective and also our challenge.


Every member of our Group has started a national information and research work before lots of retired organizations. Maybe we didn’t become aware of the importance of being involoved with it so far.



The phrase “TOGETHER WE CAN, SEPARATED THEY IGNORE US “ is a burning issue. The harmonization of the European retired systems will come true. But it will probably forget what pensioners really wish. This measure will put us on a par with our European colleagues from bottom to top. It means that there will be a riduction in pensions. Italy is living this terrible experience in which the government is putting an end to what it achieved before; it is wiping the

slate clean to impose new measures that will reduce old-age pensions in 20%. We must know that this process is threatening us. Our possibility depends on our participation and our unity.


Every year the European pensioners meet to celebrate the famous “Euromeeting”. We quoted before all the places that welcomed our group consisting of more than 500 people. Our Spanish friends always organize these European events very skilfully: meetings, workshops, cultural exchanges, comparison with other pensioners’ communities etc...

But we should always remember the playful side of these meetings where the participants visit the region that welcomes them.



The Spanish savings banks trust the European Group and the osmosis between these savings banks and pensioners is perfect. We hardly wish it would happen in every member country to organize next “Euromeetings” in the north countries.


Unity is our best weapon! It’s up to us to put this challange back to its feet to defend both economic and social or moral pensioners’ VALUES and promove the main and fundamental notion that is SOLIDARITY.

Jean Vauriot
Editor in chief of INFOS RETRAITES (France)