Since the firsts lines of my first editorial I think about our friend Pepe, who, during ten years and from my position, shared with us his great humanism, enthusiasm, his convictions, reactions and worries related to the current situation. During the Euromeeting, we remembered him. Now I am aware of the weight of responsibilities that concern me from now on with the aim to continue with his work. I accepted this mission because of the very close relation we had during many years, he called me affectionately:
Pepe left us the construction of a social and human Europe for the citizens. A Europe for all ages, firmly anchored in the defence of the most disadvantaged and especially in the defence of the elderly people. We will not forget the charisma, wish and dedication to develop this European mission of this European Group, creating the European Group of Work (GET) and searching the complementary relations with the AGE PLATFORM, The European Elderly People Platform.
We can only continue with his work through this inheritance.
Now more than ever it is time to believe in Europe. Nowadays a disaccredited Europe, a Europe which many people think it is its fault if there is a crisis, but it is not. Europe was chosen by the ‘politicians’ as scapegoat, politicians that attribute Europe very easily the origin of the financial crises of the EU.
We have to believe and defend this Europe if we want to continue with the construction of a single social community space that is able to protect the most affected citizens by the global crisis. In this difficult economical, political and social context, we have to overcome important challenges because the global financial crisis is now a global social and economic crisis, and the ‘networks’ of social care for the elderly people are in danger to be inadequate. A big part of the EU’s population suffers the massive consequences of this crisis, and the NGOs proves day by day the return to the poverty of the most frail citizens and the reappearance of the impoverishment of the elderly people.
This crisis that hits the European economy has his origin in the ‘Market Fundamentalism’ and the simultaneity of the rigorous plans that are set in different European countries in motion fall on the economy and set out a bigger problem with certain intensity: How to keep the human rights during the crisis period?
The current economic crisis should not be used by the governments as a pretext as liberation from their duties on human rights matters because, even in the middle of the crisis, they should make an effort to avoid every socio-economic rights involution. They should safeguard the social care of the most threatened people, people who were marginalized by society before the crisis, especially: children, women and elderly people.
We should continue with the construction of a solidary Europe, only allow our ‘old continent’ to find its balance again. International solidarity, intergenerational solidarity to listen to the most disadvantaged.
This is the ‘creed’ that I propose you regarding the European Group’s tasks because this is the view from Europe that Pepe left us.
Jean Claude CHRÉTIEN