EESC opinion: Relations between the generations

Key points:

The societies of Europe, and the European society they are committed to building together, are and will continue to be subject to ongoing risks of social, political, ethnic and cultural divisions. It is important that we do everything possible to ensure that these divisions are not compounded by inter-generational divisions.

The large number and complexity of the sectoral aspects that need to be taken into consideration are no excuse for not developing a forward-looking, holistic and systematic approach; in this area, as in others, the issues are neither separate nor separable. Moreover, it must be stressed that proper management of the problems of relations between the generations would have an extremely positive impact on the economy.

The European Economic and Social Committee considers this area of discussion to be very important. It clearly warrants increasing attention but the Member States and the EU have yet to give it the political consideration it deserves.

This opinion is a response to a challenge: the challenge of facilitating the development in the future of more consultation on a major issue, where coordinated, ongoing action from a wide range of players and the continuity of a constructive plan are necessary and short-term interests must not be allowed to prevail. A new pact between the generations needs to take shape step by step across the EU.

At this juncture, the Committee calls for a public debate to be held on this huge subject as soon as is realistically possible.

Throughout its involvement in this huge area of concern, the Committee can and must constantly act in close cooperation with the EU institutions.