In 2014, our European Group will celebrate its 20th anniversary. Throughout these years it has been building an institution supported by the different founding countries and associations and today, as a result, our retired workers of savings banks and financial institutions can debate about issues related to the elderly in a pleasant and quiet way.
Europe has experimented deep changes in these 20 years; today the Group has to face many goals and threats. If we look behind us, we can see the evolution of the European Union and how it has changed.
With regards to the member countries of the European Union, in 1993 it was made up of only 12 member states; now we can say there are 27 member countries and the number is expected to increase. In 1993 (with the implementation of the Maastricht Treaty), the concept of European citizen was introduced, and with it the right of free residence in any country and free movement between all the member states for all European citizens.
The creation of a single currency was very controversial and was not accepted by some countries but made exchanges easier, and bonds between different nations and cultures were strengthened.
On the other hand, there is an issue battering us hardly since some years ago, the well-known crisis that is not affecting everyone equally and is making apparent that Europe does not act united, and so we are not reaching the wellness that theoretically was one of the principles of the creation of the European Union. The European Group is trying to stay afloat in the middle of this chaotic world, that sometimes turns up to be inconsistent and contradictory.
The intention of our Group from the beginning was and still is to strengthen the bonds established in Europe in all these years. Sometimes the road to follow has not been so easy, as we have found many obstacles on the way, but we believe in the intelligence and work of the representatives of each country in the Group, which is very important to reach our main goals.
After overcoming some internal difficulties, we must keep on making efforts so that more countries join our Group, just the same the European Union is doing.
Retired workers from banking institutions from countries in the South of Europe have more difficulties because these countries have not reached the level of development of Northern states – the reasons for this are historical and of some other kind, which is a different issue we are not going to deal with in this editorial.
However, the problems of a retired German worker are not the same than those of a Latvian, so one of our missions is to debate and discuss these difficulties faced daily by a retired person to give answers and act jointly before the European administration. If, in the future, we had the opportunity to work with representatives of each of the member states of the European Union, we would work in an even more enriching way and would have a stronger voice.
This is the challenge I am issuing both for the Management Team of the European Group and for each of the participants in our 20th Euro encounter.
As for me, I would like to tell you I have started with my task, opening our boundaries to other countries.
President of the European Group