Presentation of Carla Cantone, general secretary of FERPA
CES and FERPA’s strategies must be directed to the making of a better Europe for all citizens and therefore for the retirees and the elderly people.A social Europe based on universal rights of citizenship,such as dignity,democracy,freedom,social justice,work and respect of the task,of the social dialogue among the union and institutional representatives. A social Europe based on work as suggested by CES Congress and FERPA congress. A better Europe for men and women, young and elderly people, children.
It is,therefore,essential for us to set some precise objectives and medium- short term strategies to carry out in two steps:
1) within the mid – term office assembly,
2) within next Congress
We will carry it out together through debate and participation in the choices that will be made from time to time in the Executive,in the Commission ,in team works. Above all the relationship with CES, the participation in every meeting ,in order to make our request for a full recognition of FERPA’s role inside CES. We are not an independent union, we are a union that is part of CES, consequently it must be fully acknowledged in all its aspects. FERPA has been claiming for it for eight years.If we have not had any results , all of us are to blame. So, we have to make FERPA ‘s work more productive, here in Brussels, and strengthen the retirees union in every country as well,and in its overall aspects, because the organizational model is not all the same,also the entry model and subscription to the union differs from country to country. To organize ourselves,to be present,to get ourselves moving in defence of the people we represent,to gain union adhesions to our organizations. I insist on this point because it would be shame on us to underestimate its importance.
If we carry out this task, FERPA, too, inside CES and Europe will become stronger and more authoritative towards CES, towards politics,towards those who have to consider FERPA as an acknowledged and respected organization. We have to feel it our duty to get the countries ,voluntarily excluded,to consider the entry into FERPA. We have to set ourselves the target to represent all countries,agreeing on the most useful operational mode,in order to achieve our goal and allow the countries to identify themselves with FERPA. To win union authority means to have the power and the possibility to carry out the social policies,the rights and the needs in favour of retirees and elderly people. So, we have to build up a strong unity between the European elderly people and the retirees that, presently, amount to 1/4 of the population and in 2030 will be 1/3. They are millions ,so many,a massive power that needs representing to fight against those who want to weaken the social state,the welfare in every country. Active aging is a meaningful topic,as it deals with the people’s claim to be considered,at every age,active part of the society. As you know I have planned meetings with all union organizations of the countries adhering to FERPA . Those meetings have not been and will not be sheer bureaucracy, indeed they will focus on the merit of our union commitment on the issues of the elderly people and the retirees. I am determined to plan meetings with countries not adhering to FERPA thanks to CES help and yours,too. It will not be such an easy task, anyway, I do mean to try hard. We have to favour exchanges among countries and bilateral meetings. We have to meet voluntary social and cooperation organizations that are concerned with the elderly people,but ,still distinguishing and separating roles,tasks and functions. FERPA is a union organization,though we have to meet them, respecting ours and their self- government. We have to boost ICE for weak and aged people.
We have to think of a human rights chart of all retirees and elderly people. A political – union manifesto that focuses on the elderly people with their rights and introduce it to every European country. It is essential for us to plan a meeting with the young people of CES to support them in the fight against those who want a generation- gap clash. We have to carry on energetically the projects of Women Committee, both the adopted and the new ones. We have to start campaigning against old and new poverty of retirees,men and women, and of the elderly people. It is fundamental to decide on a specific point. The crisis has brought about a lot of poverty,the poor are over 50 million and most of them are elderly people and children. The problems are numberless and present in every country,particularly concerning health service, assistance, pensions.
Our true challenge consists in gathering results, though gradually, but actual results. That is the true reason why we have to build up an alliance with the young people and the whole of the workers. European policies dealing with social issues are fundamental and increasingly they will become a decision- making subject from the European political and economic powers. Our work has not been easy during these years and it will be difficult in the future, anyway, from now on, we must keep trying it hard. In order to try it hard it is necessary for us to make FERPA authoritative and recognized. It is a huge challenge! We must organize ourselves as best as we can,feeling more and more committed and mostly, trust FERPA ourselves. We may have to modify our habits and update ourselves,and consider that staying inside FERPA organization is neither sheer burocracy,nor ordinary recognition task,on the contrary, it is a meaningful commitment for the work we have to carry out and for the role FERPA must have.
Let us try hard to change and make FERPA stronger and stronger,all together!