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“I cannot remember that so much attention had been paid to any European Year before”, says Ursula Lehr at the Closing Event in Germany of the EY2012

13/12/2012
“I cannot remember that so much attention had been paid to any European Year before”, says Ursula Lehr at the Closing Event in Germany of the EY2012 © Dejan Patic

The German Federal Association of Senior Citizens' Organisations (BAGSO) and the Research Association for Gerontology at the University of Technology Dortmunt remarked the positive outcome of the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations 2012 during the National Closing Ceremony of the Year in Germany, which was held on December 10th in Berlin.

“I cannot remember that so much attention had been paid to any European Year before”, said Ursula Lehr, Chairwomen of the BAGSO and former Federal Minister.

Among the 230 participants who attended the event in the dbb Forum was also Franz Müntefering, member of the German Bundestag; Matthias Petschke, Head of the European Commission's representation in Germany, and Dieter Hackler, Head of the Department for the Elderly, Welfare and Engagement Policies of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. The event was presented by Christine Massion, from the BAGSO.

As highlighted in the ceremony, a total of 45 different EY2012-related projects have been funded by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. In addition, countless initiatives have been launched country wide: more than 400 entries were registered on the national website's calendar of events and more than 200 projects. Furthermore, 1,000 media articles and audiovisual broadcasts have contributed to disseminate the goals of the European Year in Germany.

Prior to the closing ceremony representatives of the 45 funded projects came together in three workshops to exchange their experiences and analyse sustainable strategies about topics such as civic engagement of elderly people, intergenerational communication  and active ageing. The results were presented and discussed afterwards in the plenum by representatives of the civil society, academia, local authorities and the European Commission. The audience also participated actively in the fruitful debate.

Two main challenges were mentioned during the debate session: “The success of the Year will have to be measured also by knowing if it has been possible to reach those elders who were previously inactive”, said Gerhard Naegele, from the University of Technology Dortmunt. Mrs. Lehr added: “If we talk about solidarity between generations we must necessarily also include the middle generation, which was already known in the 70s because of their multiple responsibilities as a sandwich generation.”

The ceremony ended with a cheerful way of looking at "ageing", with the comedian and actor Bill Mockridge, 65 years old, explaining that his recipe for success are "the 5 Ls: Laufen, Laben, Lieben, Lachen und Lernen” (running, eating, loving, laughing and learning).

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Picture gallery of the event.

Click here to browse through a selection of EY2012-related initiatives in Germany.

For more information about the European Year 2012 in Germany you may visit this website.

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