The European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations 2012 in Bulgaria was officially launched with a public ceremony on March 2nd in Sofia.
The event, which took place at the Sheraton Sofia Hotel Balkan, was opened by the Minister of Labour and Social Policy and National Coordinator of the Initiative for Bulgaria, Totyu Mladenov.
In his opening speech, the minister introduced the measures and policies implemented by his office in support of Active Ageing: promoting working longer, creating opportunities for learning, training and retraining, development of long term care services and promotion of voluntary activity. “The Ministry of Labour creates conditions for Active Ageing through measures under the Employment Promotion Law and by defining the elderly as a priority target group for all interventions under the Human Resources Operational Programme”, he said.
Ognian Zlatev, Head of Unit Communication Activities DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission, explained that the EY 2012 will be succesful if government, local authorities, society, business structures and NGO are ready to work together for the cause.
Zinaida Zlatanova, Head of the Representation of European Commission in Bulgaria, and Kore Jansson, Danish Ambassador in Bulgaria, also addressed the audience. They appealed to organisations, institutions and business to implement specific measures concerning active ageing and solidarity between generations. According to Mr. Jansson the main objectives of the year are to educate employers and employees on how to live healthy after a certain age and to allow a flexible transition from the labour market into retirement.
The National Ambassadors of the European Year were presented to the audience:
The EY 2012 ambassadors shared with the audience some advice on how to accept life and the ageing.
Mrs. Shikova said the secret of a healthy ageing relies on the perception of life. “You have to love what you are doing, to love yourself, to respect yourself, to love the life; this is the way to keep yourself younger”. Mr. Bocharov added that ageing is not his problem; it’s not in his agenda. He’s “too busy to think about it!”, he said.
The programme continued with a seminar on "Active ageing and participation in the labour market". Experts from the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, researchers from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, universities and wide range of NGOs took part in it. The demographic challenges and the labour market for older people, reconciling family and professional life and health of older people were among the main topics of the forum. During the event the organizations presented information and materials on their activities through promotional stands.
Pictures of the event are available here.