From the 17th to the 24th of April, once again, we had the pleasure to celebrate the 21st Euromeeting that took place in Spain, in the city of La Coruña (Galicia) in a fun and fraternal environment where we could be led by the charm and attractiveness of this beautiful city. We had the participation of the delegations from Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, United Kingdom and Germany, members of the European Group. As usual, the cultural schedule was attractive, with guided tours to cities including La Coruña, Santiago de Compostela, Lugo and Ferrol and historical sites such as the Pazo Mariñan and Pontedeume, San Andrés de Teixido and Betanzos.
The journey around the city of La Coruña let the charm of the most emblematic places be seen, especially the Maria Pita square. In this square is located the modernist-style Casa Consistorial building where we can find the famous clock museum, unique in Spain. But the most representative monument of the city is the Tower of Hercules, a roman lighthouse built in the 2nd century by Romans due to its strategic location of the harbour in the navigation routes to the British Isles.
Another trip was to Santiago de Compostela. The first place we visited was the so-admired cathedral, built in the 11th century above the ruins of existing buildings. Its Holy Gate, open to public only during the Holy Years (Xacobeo) and with its views to Plaza Quintana, combines baroque items with Romanesque sculptures. A “fully set banquet table” was waiting the participants in the Pazo de Vista Alegre, a stately home from the 16th century. Afterwards and after some joyful songs that harmonized the lunch, we headed again to the city centre in order to visit the most important touristic attractions. This was a healthy and joyful moment of living together between the more than 170 participants.
The visits schedule carried on with a route until Ferrol, initially a fishing village that, over time, became a naval and military compound taking profit of its natural harbour’s excellent conditions that provide a very important strategic position to the city as for the protection navigation defended by the castles of Palma and San Felipe.
The lunch took place in the fishing village of Cedeira, a few miles away.
The touristic schedule also included a walk to Lugo, whose Roman heritage is clear in the entire city.
But as you all know, the Euromeeting does not only represent a leisure and living together meeting, but the known working days dedicated to the European Group also took place. These sessions, according to the established program, begun on the 18th with the Board of Directors meeting and the Annual Delegates Assembly, on Monday 20th, the GET meeting – Work and Study Group, and on Wednesday 22nd, the Plenary Assembly.
The Board approved the minutes of the previous meeting in Fuengirola, we discussed about the financial situation of the Group and the Euromeeting and the budget proposal for the 2015 financial year was suggested. The President’s report of Activities was announced, we discussed about the election of the Euromeeting for 2016 and the matters to discuss during the GET meeting were predicted.
During the annual Delegates meeting, the topics debated in the BD meeting (Board of Directors) were discussed and approved. On Monday 20th, during the GET meeting, the delegates focused all their attention on the conclusions’ assessment, debate and draft about the topic suggested in 2014 “Towards an Europe of all ages” and the topic of the current year “Supporting the Europe 2020 Objective about social poverty reduction and job creation”.
For the election of this years’ topic, we considered the five goals that should be achieved in 2020 leaded by the EU in 2010: Employment, research and development, climate / energy, education, social inclusion and poverty reduction.
Among these objectives, the Group picked two of crucial importance for debating in the Euromeeting 2015 in La Coruña: - Social poverty reduction and job creation.
Social poverty was an inconceivable European reality until a few years ago, which concerned the age-range represented in the Group, and that shown clearly the economic system weakness in which we live today.
The job creation, even if it seems to be a minor issue for the elderly, is actually not. We must consider that children’s unemployment means a negative factor in their incomes due to an imperative need to help their relatives.
Facing these raised situations and that are of great concern to us, the represented countries’ experiences suggested that they are experiencing this situation in every country. These concerns were written on the conclusions’ report drift that were sent afterwards to the AGE Platform Assembly, which will take place in November.
The Plenary Assembly meant the most critical moment of the Euromeeting which took place on the 22nd. During the assembly, the speeches related to the chosen topic of the participant countries representatives were presented in public.
The invited lecturer, Dr. Cristina Carita, anthropologist, coordinator of the GEPE Project – mutual aid groups for job searching – recognised the topic’s relevance in her intervention, based on her professional experience with unemployed people helping them with their problems, difficulties and frustrations.
When she finished her intervention, the lecturer highlighted that the paths are: “…based, without any doubt, on the civil and institutional networks’ strengthening, on exchange and on the complementarity of the carried out operations within their different functions”. Ultimately, and answering to all who participated, she stated that the key is “Attitude!” Keyword for all everyone concerned, both private and institutional.
A new year and another Euromeeting lived and enjoyed, I think that every present person felt satisfied by the nice living altogether and by a better knowledge about the European situation that the different participants’ lectures suggested.
See you next year, hopefully with a greater attendance, in the chosen host country - ITALY.