2018 was the European Year of Cultural Heritage. With the motto ‘Our heritage: where the past meets the future’, the Year aimed to celebrate Europe’s cultural heritage and diversity while strengthening a sense of belonging to a common EU area that shares common values.
To mark the Year 2018, AGE members committed to and promoted Europe’s cultural heritage and the positive role it can bring to the daily lives of EU citizens of all ages. For us the cultural heritage refers to Europe’s diversity and cultural wealth, but also to the universal values, which we stand for as Europeans and which need to be preserved and passed on to future generations. Those values should help foster dialogue, mutual respect and cooperation, so that the European Union eventually gets stronger for the benefit of all its citizens today and in the future. And we all share the responsibility of making this happen!
You can read more on the EYCH2018 in our February 2018 Special Briefing.
The 2018 European Year was the occasion for our members to share their vision of Europe, in replying to the following questions:
- What does being a European mean to you?
- What is the added value of the European Union in your daily life?
- What value, tradition, knowledge or principle would you like to convey to the younger generations?
- What do you think should be improved to build a stronger and sustainable Europe?
Human freedom, solidarity, cooperation and diversity as core EU principles
Overall our members strongly welcome the common values underpinning the European Union, in particular the promotion of human freedom, cooperation and solidarity. Also highly valued are the peace and economic growth that the European Union has brought us since its creation, as well as its wide cultural diversity. Some further advantages stressed by AGE members were the promotion of equal opportunities, improvement of knowledge, innovation and transnational cooperation on global challenges.
Need for more human- and citizen- focused policies
Yet, according to our members, a number of things need improving to ensure Europe’s sustainability. In particular, the EU should adopt a more ‘human-based’ approach and less ‘market-based’ and strengthen its democratic process to better represent its citizens.
Some of the members interviewed also call for a stronger social programme and more cooperation around common concrete projects.
Also reported is the need for more transparency in EU decision-making processes, more investment on the enforcement of EU laws, further effort towards more respect for diversity and a clear separation of power between the law, the government and the media.
Want to know more on AGE member contribution? Read our PDF presentation
As part of our contribution to the 2018 European Year, we also collected individual testimonies from some of our members on their experience and views of the European Union. The interviews can be read here: