Group of European Pensioners from Savings Banks and Financial Institutions


Index of documents > Euromeetings Magazine > Euromeetings Number 5

Retired Staff from European Savings Banks from Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium, Italy, England, Denmark and Germany met in April 2000 in Platja d’Aro (Costa Brava) for the annual General Assembly.


The objective of each Euromeeting is to strengthen the solidarity among the European pensioners, to discuss precarious social situations in each country and to achieve, through a common effort, the integration of the elderly. In order to make our objectives happen and to have political influence, we need a strong lobby in the European Union.


It is our right to demand that the pensions are ensured to maintain the purchasing power, that we receive health care and that decisions are not made without consulting the pensioners.


If our united and strong voice is heard in Europe, the politicians will pay attention to us.


Even though each country’s interests are very different, it is important to reflect upon them. Life expectancy is increasing and the European birth rate is decreasing, so less money is coming into the provision funds for pensions. That is why a consistent revision of the family policy has become necessary, as well as the government’s support and help, because after a long working life we deserve an old age without worries.


In Germany, Spain and Portugal there are still strong social contracts. But there will be serious problems if the Savings Banks are privatised as it has happened in France, England, Italy and Belgium.


Besides the debates and assemblies, a wide programme of activities was offered to us once more. We visited the Costa Brava with its rocky cliffs, soft beaches, hidden coves and woods of pine trees and cork oaks, and we walked alongside the Llac of Banyoles, the biggest natural lake in Catalonia and an excellent place of rest that, in 1992, during the Olympic Games, held the rowing competition.


The excursion continued to Besalú, a fortified mountain village, full of medieval charm and accessible only through a Romanesque bridge from the 11th century. The urban area has totally maintained its old aspect, with narrow streets and old religious buildings. On the hill you can see the impressive ruins of the Church of Santa María. The most important building, the Jewish baths, is the only one in Spain in its category, and it has a great historic importance.


The next day we went on an excursion to Blanes, where we visited the most beautiful botanical garden in Europe, a fascinating world of flowers and subtropical and Mediterranean plants. Its founder, Karl Faust, a German, created with his fortune a scientific foundation to study Botany internationally.


We ended the excursion with a brief visit to Sant Feliu de Guíxols, a traditional tourist place. Sant Feliu has a number of modernist buildings, the Casino dels Nois and the Casino dels Senyors among them.


The archaeological excavations of Ampúries, a metropolis from Classical times, are the biggest Greco-Roman settlement in Spain. This enclave, placed alongside the sea, is divided into a Greek city and a much bigger Roman city which was built later and where its inhabitants lived in peace and harmony.


In L’Escala, the second fishing port in importance in the Costa Brava, we tried anchovies. These are known beyond the Catalonian borders as a great delicacy.


In Pals we walked in the little streets of the magnificent medieval Vila Vella. Its old part, a national monument, was built mostly with natural stone. In its highest point, the Torre de les Hores stands up.


In the capital of the province that has the same name, Girona, alongside the Ter river, we were impressed by the cathedral with monumental baroque stairs from the 17th century. The gate, with a double door, is flanked by statues of over 5 metres. The episcopal church, built in different periods, is dedicated to Sant María.



The high point of the excursions was our visit to the Theatre-Museum Dalí, in Figueres. With the visionary strength of his work and personality, Salvador Dalí has enriched the history of Modern Art with a chapter worthy of all attention. His artistic talent had already become apparent during his childhood, and kept growing afterwards. He was a master promoting himself, and made his complicated dreams and fears become paintings and grotesque works of art. Gala, his wife, was his muse and a sea of peace for his agitated artist soul.


The final moment of the week was a nice dinner with all the participants, in the Platja Park Hotel.


We thank the organisers, in the name of the German group, for the invitation to this Euromeeting, and we wish for next year a new harmonic and productive meeting with all the European pensioners in ISDABE (Andalusia) with Mr. Luis Mesa.



Ruth Rebert and Christa Saia