Newsletter ESU 157
EUROPÄISCHE SENIOREN UNION (ESU) EUROPEAN SENIORS´ UNION (ESU) ESU-Newsletter SENIOR INTERNATIONAL Issue No.157 March 2018
In the beginning there was love Kidnapped king’s daughter gave his name to Europe – right?
Greece/Europe. On the Greek island of Crete, where mythology and history are intertwined, the king’s daughter, Europa, has received manifold reverence – after all, she is supposed to have been adulterously abducted by the father of the gods Zeus transformed into a bull, as his mistress from Sidon (Asia Minor) and brought here. Transformed back into human form, Zeus then had three sons with her. Minos, the first-born, is credited with founding the “Minoan culture,” the oldest on European soil (2,000 BC), of which impressive traces still bear witness and astonish in Knossos, Phaestos and Malia. .
In the Flemish provincial and university city of Leuven, Europa is approaching her beloved with affection. No surprise then, that he set off with her across the Mediterranean to his native Crete. The versatile Flemish sculptor Rik Poot (1924-2006) is to be thanked for this bronze statue. It was his last creation. It stands at the end of an esplanade that leads from Leuven railway station to the Provincial House and has been repeatedly walked by participants of events of the European Seniors’ Union. Details about the artist: https://www.pinterest.de/jefdepagie/rik-poot/
Signs of hope from Alt-Berlin The “House of One” has a harbinger
Berlin. At the place of origin of the former twin city of Berlin-Coelln, a “prayer and teaching centre for the peaceful coexistence of Judaism, Christianity and Islam” will arise. The initiators call it the “House of One”, in which believers from the three monotheistic religions can meet and get in touch with members of other churches, as well as those with non-religious backgrounds. The start of construction is 2019. Until then, an information pavilion will take the leading role. It was recently inaugurated on the site.
That the pavilion comes from Luther’s city of Wittenberg is no coincidence. During the Reformation anniversary last year, visitors from all over the world met there. That they felt so invited and even began their journey to Luther’s primary domain was what the organisers had wanted, hoped for and welcomed. Margot Käßmann, Reformation Special Envoy of the Evangelical Church, pronounced the distinctly cosmopolitan, ecumenical character as the most notable of the months of celebration! This gives hope for further rapprochement within Christianity, according to the theologian. In a sermon at the beginning of Lent, she expressed her appreciation for the change of heart in the face of nationalistic Lutheran anniversaries of earlier centuries, which barely considered Luther’s weaknesses, especially his hatred of the Jews.
The “House of One”, as well as its interim predecessor, is on the historic “Coellnische Fischmarkt” in Berlin (documented since 123, now Petrikirchplatz) already comes through its location high symbolic power: here is the cradle of that city, the source of two dictatorships with devastating consequences. It is also the site where a church dedicated to the apostle Peter stood, heavily damaged during the Second World War and demolished on the orders of the GDR government. It stood in the way of prominent politicians making an unhindered journey to the building of the SED Central Committee. Archaeologists unearthed remnants of foundation walls and an early burial ground several years ago.
EU Commissioner Oettinger: More money for the ERASMUS + program / concerns about Poland articulated
Brussels. The EU Commission intends to present, at the beginning of May, a concrete proposal for the so-called Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) which will be the EU’s budget from 2021 onwards for seven years. This has to take into account the forthcoming EU exit and other new challenges. Budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger told the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in Berlin how the funds should be used primarily. These are the strengthening of the economic power of the EU, solidarity between the member states and sustainability, which means the responsible use of the environment. Neither the successful “Erasmus +” programme, nor the research and development sector need be worried about cuts in their financial framework that could not be ruled out altogether – in contrast to the agricultural economy, for example. Erasmus + is the EU’s education, youth and sports programme. It promotes learning mobility and transnational cooperation. Included is the distribution of “European values” in accordance with. Article 2 of the EU Treaty. More spending is likely to be needed for the common defence efforts of the EU countries, Oettinger said. In response to a question from the audience on the situation in Poland, he gave its economy a good report, which includes the export of Polish goods to the European market. He was concerned about its government’s actions in the field of the “rule of law” (judicial reform, restriction of press freedom). The EU can only take effective action against this by a unanimous decision of its member states, said Oettinger. In the course of a lively discussion, he remarked: “for exports to African countries, which they can produce themselves, we should withdraw ourselves” and received strong applause. With the announcement to increase the Erasmus + programme funding by up to 10 percent from 2021, he made (not only) a worried Georgian scientist happy, who greatly appreciated this programme. “We also want to promote vocational education strongly,” said the Commissioner. Proportional EU responses to US protectionist actions were not ruled out by Oettinger, but he would like to avoid them.
“The Hand of the Seniors’ Federation” Ingrid Korosec, President of ÖSB, writes to the Editor
Vienna. “In the course of coalition negotiations of the ÖVP and the FPÖ, it has been possible in the government programme ‘Together. For our Austria’ to accommodate long-term demands of the Austrian Seniors’ Federation,” writes Ingrid Korosec to the Editor.
“When the social insurance system was created in Austria, the difference between retirement age and life expectancy was seven years, today it is 22 years. To secure this system also in the future, the average retirement age must be brought into line with the legal requirement (women with 60, men with 65).”
The President of the ÖSB is pleased that individuals who remain employed after reaching the statutory retirement age will no longer have to pay contributions into the pension system. She had fought for a long time for that.
Further demands of the Seniors’ Federation, according to the words of Mrs. Korosec, are: • Clear commitment to tax financing from a single source for care. • Overall consideration for the funding of health, pensions and care. • Stronger support for the caring of relatives. • An increase in care allowances from care level 4. • Strengthening the family doctors and local health care services. • Safeguarding of the cash by its anchoring in the Constitution. • Minimum pension of 1,200 euros for over 40 years of contributions, whereby: • married couples should receive at least 1,500 euros for 40 contribution years of a partner. • Steps to integrate the actual facts into to the statutory retirement age (see above!) • Better framework conditions for volunteering. • Family bonus of 1,500 euros per child per year. • Promoting access to digital media, especially for seniors. In addition to these concerns, ÖSB is also working to improve other areas of social and consumer protection and internal security, notes Ingrid Korosec, writing: “Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has carried out a courageous selection of his government team: the proportion of women in the Federal Government is 50 percent, which is higher than ever. The government team brings with it a wide range of expertise that will have a positive effect on government work!“In the first few months, there has been “close co-operation” between the Seniors’ Federation and the government, which would make “seniors’ politics one step ahead”. Editor’s note: The Austrian Seniors’ Federation has over 300 000 members and is active in all federal states with strong local groups. It is one of the most active member organizations in the European Seniors’ Union, and for ten years, together with the Political Academy of the People’s Party, has hosted their Summer Academies in Vienna.
“We have achieved the essentials” Claus Bernhold sums up the coalition agreement Union / SPD
Berlin. Claus Bernhold is Deputy Chairman of the CDU Seniors’ Union, its press spokesman and a member of the Executive Committee of the European Seniors’ Union. He sees in the coalition agreement of the future German governing parties, essential demands pushed through, which are in the interest of the older generation.
There was also the input of Prof. Dr. med. Otto Wulff, the chairman of the Seniors’ Union, which was involved in the negotiations. Bernhold emphasised, in a letter to the senior men and women: “in the case of pensions we have adhered to the three-pillar model”, the private pension provision will be further developed and therefore fairer. The pension Commission demanded by the Union is set up. Its goal must be a “reliable generation contract” that rewards life’s performance and “guarantees a regular retirement income above the assured basic income”. For Bernhold, the announced “immediate programme to create 800 new qualified workers in care facilities” is “a first step in the right direction”. The demands for a better staffing ratio and higher pay for the nursing staff were taken up. In his summing up, he also says:” in view of the threat to the healthcare crisis, we remain with our plea (…) to launch a master plan for care in the amount of 10 billion euros”. He noted with satisfaction that the importance of families and children is emphasised and that children’s rights are included in the Basic Law. The CDU Seniors’ Union, with its 57,000 members, continues to demand that Article 3, Paragraph 3 of the Basic Law should be extended to prohibit discrimination due to age, stressed Claus Bernhold. Regarding the disappointment of many CDU voters in relation to the “allocation of responsibilities in the future Cabinet”, he does not hide his critical view also. Nevertheless, he is convinced that the CDU under Angela Merkel “the state-forming, a party that is characterised by its awareness of responsibility”, which makes “good politics for our country!”
Waste is recyclable – yes and? This recognition is not new. Now the EU Parliament has set fixed deadlines and binding goals for responsible management
Brussels. Many raw materials classified as “waste” are of lasting value and suitable for reuse. They also will be used by future generations to shape their lives. MEP Karl-Heinz Lorenz referred to this when introducing four new legislative acts. The Environment Committee had agreed them at the end of February. They take into account the recognition and challenges described at the beginning. The EU member states are now required to set binding goals and fixed deadlines for dealing with this “waste”. These should ensure that as much as possible is recycled and as little as possible ends up in landfill sites. The decisions support the declared intention of the European Union to use resources responsibly, that means using materials as long as possible and to ensure the reuse of serviceable parts at the end of their useable life. This is a task for consumers, governments and industry alike. The MEP said that companies would also be spared purchasing from countries with dictatorial rulers as a consequence.
ESU on Facebook
9th March: Carmen Quintanilla Barba (ES) announced that, on the occasion of the International Women’s Day, she has been nominated for an award, together with four women from South Africa, Kenya, Trinidad and Tobago and Syria, for a United Nations Distinguished Service award. This is to recognise their commitment to the rights of women, especially in rural areas. Carmen is chair of the National Commission of the Elderly of the Partido Popular / People’s Party in Spain and a Vice-President of the ESU. An Hermans congratulated her.
6th March: Prof. An Hermans (B) and Dr. Marilies Flemming (AT) participated in a discussion on preparing documents for the EPP Congress in Helsinki (November 2018). The working group “European Politics”, led by Christian Kremer, dealt with the topics of security and prosperity.
26th February: Guido Dumon and Noella Jacobs (B) met at the headquarters of the Flemish Christian Democrats, CD & V, with a group of visitors from the Stockholm area for a discussion.
22nd February: Lenny Geluk Poortvliet (NL) has developed an action plan to suppress loneliness in old age. https.//www.cda.nl/actueel/nieuws/actieplan-tegen-eenzamheid/
ESU Diary 2018
19-20 April: Stockholm (S): 20th anniversary of the Christian-Democratic Seniors’ Association 20th April: Berlin (D): Official celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Seniors-Union of the CDU Please note the changes: 24th April: Brussels: Presidium 10-13 o’clock (EPP-headquaters) with the President of the European Peoples Party (EPP), Joseph Daul and the Young EPP (YEPP) 24th April: Brussels: Presidium 14-17 o’clock Participation at the conference of IDEA and ESU for International Solidarity, with the EU Commissioner Marianne Thyssen, on the occasion of the European Day of Solidarity between the Generations (held on 29th April) 25th April Brussels: Meeting of the Executive Committee is cancelled
27th 28th April: Aachen (DE): Regional Conference. Topic: “Growing Old in the Euro-region” 7th – 8th May: Oslo (NO): Regional Conference. Topic: “Solidarity between the Generations” 17th -19th May: Vilnius (LT): Regional Conference. Topic: “Bridges to Solidarity and Cohesion in the Baltic States” 6th July: Vienna (AT) Presidium Executive Committee Anniversary “10th Summer Academy for Leaders” 7th – 9th July: Vienna: 10th Summer Academy 6th – 8th September: Bozen (Italy/ South Tirol): Regional Conference 7th – 8th November: Helsinki (FIN): EPP Congress with ESU participation 23rd – 24th November: Leuven (B): Presidium __________________________________________________________________________
Editor: Ulrich Winz (DVPJ)
Translated by Margit & Seán Hawkes
ESU: Rue de Commerce/Handelsstraat 10, 1000 Brussels; Tel.: +32 2309 2866; Internet: www.esu-epp.eu; E-Mail: email@example.com; Facebook.com/esu.eu. Editorial deadline and publication: 14th March 2018