Future of the European Union: Time to rebuild a truly collective European project addressing EU challenges and citizens’ concerns

Brussels, 24 March 2017

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60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties, 25 March 2017

AGE members loudly call on the European Union leaders to seize the momentum of the 60th Anniversary of the Rome Treaties to rebuild a truly collective project for the EU integration and identity, based on social progress, inclusion and solidarity. We need a European Union that helps its Member States address the current global challenges: demographic and climate changes, rising inequalities and poverty, upsurge of intolerance and extremism, spreading global terrorism, a Union that is stronger and closer to its citizens’ concerns.

Over the last sixty years, older people have actively contributed to the European project. At the eve of the celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the signature of the Treaties of Rome, AGE is more determined than ever to praise the tangible added value that the European Union brings to the daily lives of its citizens of all ages, young and old. The starting point of the united Europe was to bring us all peace and prosperity. Today, the values we share are under threat. The EU is living through its most difficult moments since its creation in 1957, facing a myriad of internal and external challenges.

In the past decade, the global and EU contexts have changed radically the political and social landscapes in Europe. The persistent economic and social crisis combined with the baby-boomers’ demographic “pressure”, the migration and refugee’s crisis, the growing fear of terrorist attacks, the shock of the Brexit referendum, all lead to a growing feeling that the EU needs to reconsider its objectives, organisation and processes.

We call on our political leaders to reconnect the EU with its citizens and create a forward looking society where everyone has a role to play, is valued and supported to lead an active and autonomous life regardless of age, gender, race or ethnic origin, religion, disability or sexual orientation.

Maintaining and enhancing our basic European values of dignity, solidarity and equality should remain the main priority guiding all EU external and internal actions. Therefore the initial targets of Europe 2020’s strategies in terms of poverty reduction, employment and education should remain key objectives in future EU policies, as well as developing the use of solidarity mechanisms, namely through existing EU funds, to fight against inequalities and social exclusion, and strengthen European citizenship.

As members of the older generation, we also have a duty to defend our shared values and the European dream our parents and we built together over the past decades. Our aim is that of a European Union of peace and solidarity, growth and prosperity for all, respectful of the diversity among its Member States and supportive of other regions of the World.

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