Group of European Pensioners from Savings Banks and Financial Institutions


Index of documents > Euromeetings Magazine > Euromeetings Number 5

Mr. Chairman, you have asked me to talk about the 'Alicante Declaration' that was approved during last year’s EUROMEETINGS.


I was the speaker of yesterday’s morning assembly. The conclusions I here present to you are issued from the debate held during the morning session and not only my own.


I would like to thank Mr. Lucien ALEXANDRE from Belgium, substitute member in the Group of European Savings Bank’s Retired Staff and Pensioners Board, who, as secretary of the session, efficiently took note of all interventions.


I would also like to thank Mr. Franco SALZA, President of the Turin Savings Bank Pensioners Association, whose work has been very useful to prepare this document. I also thank Mr. Luis Emilio ROMERO JIMÉNEZ, University professor who has made some suggestions that will be very useful to develop our action policy.


We have been honoured by the presence among us of a group of University Professors. Their being here encourages us to open our profession to other fields of activity.


The debates were made interesting and my task as 'moderator' made easier by the 30 colleagues that intervened. I want to thank them too.


We soon realized that all the points in the 'Alicante Declaration' are equally important being, at the same time, different but coherent.


Nevertheless, points 1 and 8 seemed to be the most important ones and have become our main objectives.


Points 5 and 9 are also very important and show us the way to a good communication strategy.


Point 6 gave place to an exciting discussion about the role the Education System, and particularly University, can play in the development of an intergenerational Society.


Participants were not at all negative thinking even when we talked about the problems, oppositions, legal vacuums and indifference we sometimes face. I personally feel very happy about it.


I want to add that all participants, even if holding different ideas and opinions, discussed with tolerance and politeness.


The most difficult thing to do was to go from theory to practice, to actual facts. I honestly do not think we have found the ideal solution to our problems, but I think we are on the good way.


Each country belonging to the European Union has its own laws, structures, mentality and culture and we have realized it is very difficult to get to harmonize them all.


Hence the idea of creating a plattform that could represent a common factor for all the countries. Therefore, we have talked about the following subjects:

• Defence of spending power.

• Pensioners’ representation before the organizations which deal with their problems and questions.

• The painful situation of some pensioners who are handicapped or in a state of physical dependance.

• The problem of loneliness.

• The pensioner’s role within the family.

• The pensioner’s role within any kind of association, regardless of its characteristics.

• The pensioner’s role in the professional training.

• The pensioner’s role in the safeguard of the collective memory, what we call the 'memory’s duty'.


This list is not an exhaustive one, and I would not want anybody to identify the acknowledgment of these problems with merely material claims.


But today’s society is implacable, even cruel, with the weak. But, you may ask, in which way are the pensioners weak?


They enjoy a certain economical safety, they have a house, they do not have to face anymore all the problems the active people face. They do not hold responsibilities anymore and have time enough to enjoy their hobbies.


Then, what are they complaining about? The answer is very clear: they want to be considered by the society as responsible seniors, and not as children under tutelage that cannot think for themselves and whose only right is to be quiet and passively accept all the decisions made by others.


Yet this passivity is what they reject. But the problem consists in proving it.


First of all, we must elaborate a serious product and find the best way to sell it.


We have enumerated the pensioners’ wishes and proposals.


Society is a compact group, and the pensioners are part of it. Because of them, jobs are being created and kept in all the sectors, and without their presence and work all this would disappear or stagnate.


You have well understood that there is no place for fighting for a reintegration policy, but only for recognizing the place filled by the pensioners, so they will not be invisible anymore.


Afterwards, once we have the product, we have to sell it in the market, to publicize it and guarantee its success.


So let’s use our imagination, because we have plenty of it, and remember that from the small things come all the great things. We can give some examples:

• Creation and spreading of magazines, thoughts, and interactive documents, for pensioners, who sometimes feel quite isolated, as well as for the whole world, that nowadays is very selfish.

• To be modern, and create a web site in INTERNET.

• To multiply the contacts with politicians and representatives of the civil life, together with other pensioner associations, in order to create a common front. To do the same with our active colleagues, specially with the trade unions and the company comittees, and try to make them understand that we share the same fight and, as the point 6 of the Declaration says, cooperate also with universities.

• To ask for the cooperation of journalists of all ideologies.


And all this, of course, in a frame of a common thought, not a single one, but with faith and enthusiasm.


In concrete, we must erase the image of an isolated pensioner in order to introduce a modern pensioner, who feels good as he/she is, feels good living in this time, ready to be a part of social life and guarantee his/her rights and duties.



This 'lobby' task is essential. We must be everywhere through words, through writing and through action.


The 'gray hair revolution' must provoke a New Culture that could be more concrete under the form of a charter called ' THE PENSIONER IN THE SOCIAL EUROPE'.


That is why we need to be always together, in spite of our differences, even though we have to be realistic. Nobody will give us what we are not asking for. We will achieve everything after working hard for it.


To be honest, it is clear that our success will not be an easy one. But if we go step by step, our fight will not have been worthless.


It is up to the Group of European Savings Bank Retired Staff and Pensioners to create an 'observatory' to give advice and help us to realize and appreciate the results achieved by each member state.


However, there is something we have not talked about: money. Our association and each member state must find a common policy, because even if this subject could seem out of place in this great debate of ideas, we should not forget its importance.


Our task now is to begin our pilgrimage and convert our potential partners to our ideals.


Good luck to everybody and see you next year in the EUROMEETINGS 2001, where we will be able to evaluate the results of the aims we have today.


Thank you all for your attention.



Jean Vauriot

Editor in chief of INFOS RETRAITES (France)