Solidarity between generations strengthens democracy

28/04/2022

Alicia Homs Ginel, YES President (left) and Jos Bertrand, ESO President, speaking at the event, Brussels, Belgium

Alicia Homs Ginel, YES President (left) and Jos Bertrand, ESO President, speaking at the event, Brussels, Belgium

It is time to empower Europe’s younger and older generations to fully participate in democracy – this was the message as European progressives gathered ahead of the European Day of Solidarity between Generations.

The Intergenerational Solidarity Dialogue for Democratic Participation event saw the Young European Socialists (YES) and the European Seniors Organisation (ESO), together with the Party of European Socialists (PES) and the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS), deliver a joint rallying call: progressives will fight to ensure citizens of all ages are fully involved in democracy.

The event – livestreamed yesterday – underlined the importance of building a shared understanding of common challenges between generations through citizenship education, and the value of younger and older generations collaborating to achieve progressive change.

Alicia Homs Ginel, YES President said:

“In the last years we have seen that democracy is fragile. We cannot take it for granted. We all have to take care of our institutions and work for a public debate respectful and plural. All generations have the responsibility to preserve the democratic systems that have been built in the past and improve them to make them ready for the future.”

Jos Bertrand, ESO President said:

“Intergenerational solidarity must bridge the gap between past, present and future. Young people look to the future, older people have experienced the past and can testify to successes and mistakes. Our parties can use the potential of older activists and thus strike a balance with the young. We argue for equal treatment for seniors and for young people, and for guaranteed participation in the decision-making bodies.”

Maria João Rodrigues, FEPS President, said:

“Social democracy is about bringing people together. Ahead of the European Day of Solidarity between Generations we are sending the message that we will always work to enhance the collaboration between young and elderly. This is central to our movement and our fight for a fair future for all.”

Sergei Stanishev, PES President said:

“We know that young activists often feel ignored by institutions built by their parents and grandparents, while older activists resent being caricatured as outdated and out of touch. It is time to bridge this gap and give all generations the tools to participate equally in the democratic debate.”

YES President Alicia Homs Ginel MEP, ESO President Jos Bertrand, FEPS President Maria João Rodrigues, Vice-chair of the European Parliament CULT committee and President of PES Activists Romania Victor Negrescu MEP, YES Vice President Evelyn Logghe, Education and Lifelong Learning Coordinator at the SOLIDAR Foundation Elisa Gambardella, Florence City Councillor Laura Sparavigna, and YES Secretary General Ana Pirtshkalava took part in the event.

The event was moderated by Magda De Meyer, European Secretary General of the International Council of Women and former member of the Belgian House of Representatives.

As well as attracting viewers online, the event drew a large in-person audience at the FEPS office. Check some photos here.