Group of European Pensioners from Savings Banks and Financial Institutions


Index of documents > Reports and communications > Toledo 2010

The most pressing topic of subsidiary policies that affects families is the support of this as social mediators between generations. The aging of the population in European countries is characterised by its unique expression. In fact, must highlight that Europe is the first part of the world to undergo 3 changes at the same time:

  1. A continually low birth rate.
  2. An increase in life expectancy from birth, allowing a significant number of Europeans to reach an advanced age.
  3. The generation of baby boomers, are now reaching retirement age

Family is not just a privileged background and socialisation. It’s having the ‘contracts’ that are formed implicitly and have economic validity between family members. In fact, money appears to be the driving force of the families. In the past few years, both public opinion and political debates in western countries have been focused on the process of the aging populations, the decline in fertility and the increase in life expectancy. These topics are related to the process of restructuring the so-called social status in their diverse national versions.
In this context, (think of the debate on the reforming the pension system) the IG relations that arise from the conflict of interests between the young and older people ought to be studied. There is an atmosphere full of reproaches: the younger generation because of their unwillingness to have children, and the older generation because being consumers of resources adds to the burden of their offspring.
The IG solidarity is particular; the solidarity of the welfare systems basically comes from certain rights and duties of citizens. Then, being part of various socially defined age groups is new point of inequality as they have different ways to access resources that integration guarantees.
It’s clear that there is a need to maintain affection for the elderly because they don’t fit the job profile -Employers prefer younger people to older people. They have to struggle against negative perceptions of old age.
The way of motivating an older person is different to having active participation in the world of work. At the moment, the state of good health in the younger generations will allow the elderly to remain independent and in their homes much longer. Therefore, the most expensive treatments would focus on the final part of their life. However, more people would need more expensive care as a result of losing their independence. It will be necessary to receive special attention, today is already guaranteed in several countries, thanks to the families and more particularly to working women. In addition, more children live away from their parents when they’re adults. Consequently, those families should receive more support.
IG solidarity means working against poverty and inequity. The countries must create welfare policies that help at the same time the families and their children, assure a good future agreeing with older people that living better means living longer. In this sense, the social policies are policies of development. Essentially, it’s said, because they allow economic growth. It’s a point of view that is changing, in one hand because of the way welfare policies are interpreted, and on the other hand, people are more aware that both economic growth and social development are urgent because they specifically reject the idea of human evolution and a person depending on their aims and means of development and economic growth.
The welfare of IG solidarity is heading towards: a good and full occupation of everyone, in the formation and extension of their active life, in the different types of work, in joining work and family life, in avoiding the traps of the social and health services, above all for people who are not independent, in the support policies on family responsibilities, and in general helping those with unfavourable conditions.
What can we do? With development policies and economic growth that bet on the human factor and underline the importance of work in people’s lives. Working better throughout your life. For each generation this means different things : for the young people having a job at the right time, that allows them to have independence and a training programme suitable for both women and men.  For the middle age people is important working and taking breaks – for the study and attention – without feeling so that they can spend time with their children and the elderly, or even to work more if they wish, or simply to change jobs or do different activities, so they would feel more useful and better and not alone.
So, what should be the priorities of an  IG solidarity? Beyond the importance of having a good and satisfied job throughout life and the need to generate more income it should be a program that includes the following: creating credits of insertion, with the aim of fighting poverty, to provide a set of rights for each job, to provide a good and satisfactory job for women thanks to the conciliation between work and family life, providing each person with adequate training, providing support to families with children in care or education, prolonging the work life span, enabling people to have the right to take a break at work, promoting an efficient and humane  public health service available to everyone and responding to the changing needs of old age, counteracting the loneliness of the elderly by involving them using the skills they learnt throughout their life, and making good use of moral resources and the new arrangements of citizens to ‘care for one another’.
Finally, intergenerational solidarity is ‘the alive and operating conscience at the time of helping in the community and sharing and expressing needs through individual and collective moral support’. The Latin word ‘solidus’ meaning strong, fortified, stable and resistant. This common tendency of interests, when being aware when you participate, exchange views, use terms such as consolidated, stable, resistant...all of these imply a relation, a link between people, in this case between generations: youths, adults, ‘young people who have lived a lot’ in terms of time, therefore, history and personal experience that involves being able to live together, knowing how to listen, knowing how to converse and knowing how to do things together. 

Franco Salza - Italy