Solidarity between generations – Building bridges to celebrate what unites us

On 29 April, the European Day of Solidarity between Generations will celebrate its 15th edition. Initiated by AGE, the day shines a light on intergenerational practices and the need for promoting a “culture” of intergenerational dialogue and cooperation in an increasingly polarised society.

In today’s society, where rapid technological advances and societal shifts increase the risk of generational divides, fostering dialogue and cooperation between different age groups is crucial. The European Day of Solidarity between Generations serves as a timely reminder of the importance of bridging these gaps and promoting understanding, empathy, and collaboration across generations.

Not self-evident

The essential role of intergenerational solidarity and cooperation in the functioning of our society is not sufficiently recognised and understood. And therefore, neither is the need to promote it. Yet, if intergenerational links remain commonplace within the family sphere, this is far from being the case in other spheres of our society, as Heidrun Mollenkopf, AGE President underlines:

“Younger people and older people today often live in different worlds. They meet up privately with their peers or attend events tailored specifically to them. Outside of the family, there are hardly any opportunities for young and old to meet.”

This reality feeds preconceived ideas and divisive discourse that pit generations against one another and hinder us from taking full advantage of diversity and of the essential contribution that people make at all stages of their lives.

In this election period, breaking silos and encouraging dialogue, friendships and interaction between age generations is more important than ever.

So much to be gained

‘I like being with young people, and I miss the perspective of my students from when I was a teacher.’

Miroslawa, Poland

‘My grandmother taught me everything about nature.’

Sofia, Portugal

‘We cannot have advancement without exchange between generations’

George, Malta

Promoting dialogue and cooperation between generations benefits individuals and communities alike. It can combat ageism and stereotypes, promote social cohesion, and create a sense of belonging and mutual support across different age groups.

Fostering a culture of solidarity between generations is not only about promoting mutual respect and understanding; it’s also about harnessing the collective power of diverse perspectives to tackle the challenges of our time. Whether it’s addressing climate change, promoting social justice, or navigating the complexities of an ever-changing global landscape, intergenerational collaboration can lead to more comprehensive and sustainable solutions.

Much in common

'Both young and old people have similar needs and interests. Both need an accepting social environment and reliable material living conditions. Both must cope in a constantly changing environment and defend themselves against discrimination based on their age. Both are concerned about natural resources and suffer from the consequences of climate change. And both generations long for a world in which they can live their lives in peace.'

The common values, interests and challenges shared by young and old, are reflected in a common Declaration entitled “United Across Generations” that we drafted together with the European Youth Forum, as part of the MEET project.

The renewal of our EU institutions is the right momentum to raise awareness among politicians at European, national, regional and local levels on the need to rethink the concept of solidarity and cooperation between generations and bring more intergenerational fairness and social justice in our everyday lives. In the run-up to the elections of the new European Parliament in June, the declaration reminds what unites younger and older people and calls for more  intergenerational dialogue, understanding and connection at all levels in society.

EU Elections 2024: seizing the Moment to raise awareness 

As part of this declaration launch, we’ve asked Members of the European Parliament to reflect on the importance of fostering a culture of solidarity between generations.
Here are some of their contributions:

“There's an Irish saying that "We live in each others shelter" – and this is particularly true between generations. If one generation is to thrive, it must rely on the others, at all stages of life. Today on EU Day of Solidarity between Generations, we must renew our commitment to working together for the future of our societies and our communities."

"There are no gaps between generations and their interests unless we intentionally create them. We all have our own role in our society, everyone at their turn: we are new-borns and youngsters, dependent on others, we are parents, middle-aged providers and eventually pensioners. At our own time, we all contribute to the functioning of our society and its wellbeing, and at another time of our lives we benefit from the efforts that others make. Only by understanding this system of common efforts and risk-sharing, we can live together without unnecessary intergenerational gaps, in humane and successful societies."

“Intergenerational solidarity must become a cornerstone for shaping policy both at the national and European level with the aim of building a fairer and more social Europe, that is based on equal rights and decent life of all generations. Only with mutual respect and cooperation can we design policies and measures that will, at the same time, successfully address contemporary challenges, take into account the needs of all generations, combat ageism and promote intergenerational solidarity.”

"No community is possible without intergenerational solidarity. It is this solidarity that allows all of us to finance public school for our children, those who work today to contribute to the pensions of those who have worked all their lives, for all of us to pay for a National Health Service that we all need or will need. Talking about social policy means talking about policies for the various stages of our own lives."

Join the movement!

Our Declaration will be officially launched on the EU Day of Solidarity between Generations on 29th April in our social media and in a press release.

So, stay tuned and amplify our message using the hashtag #SolidarityBetweenGenerations on:

X/Twitter  /   Facebook   /  LinkedIn 

As we celebrate the European Day of Solidarity between Generations on 29th April, let us recommit ourselves to promoting dialogue and cooperation across generations. Let us recognize the richness of our diversity and embrace the opportunity to learn from one another and work together towards a more inclusive, compassionate, and prosperous Europe for all ages !

Related news

Skip to content