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Large crowds and media gathered at the Italian National Closing Event of the European Year 2012, which was held on 4 December at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers in Rome in the presence of Prime Minister Mario Monti and various high level speakers and celebrities.
The event was opened by the Prefect Mario Morcone, who introduced the guests and spoke of the fundamental principles of the European Year 2012, saying that there is a need to facilitate a cultural change that encourages intercultural exchanges between the youth and the elderly.
The Minister for International Cooperation and Integration, Andrea Riccardi, pointed out the importance of this year in terms of encouraging inner reflection. Many see the increase in the number of seniors as a decline in productivity, said Riccardi, but this should be seen as a sign of success obtained thanks to greater well-being and longer life expectancy.
The Minister presented a proposal for a National Charter that aims to encourage Active Ageing. The document responds to ideas raised, to the results of studies that took place and to the experience gained during the European Year with the aim of transforming demographic challenges into opportunities in the social, health, labour and economic contexts.
"I think that I can give a little testimony about what is active ageing... very active " said Prime Minister Mario Monti, referring to Giorgio Napolitano, President of the Italian Republic, who is 87 years old. He then spoke about health policies, which must be reviewed in order to better adapt to the future, while recognising that the European Year 2012 has allowed society to come closer to issues that affect the elderly.
“We must learn to manage the demographic change process more efficiently. Our mindset is called to deal with new perspectives. Conservatism is not a prerogative of an age of the life, but of a given season, of a certain community. We need to win the close-minded attitude to move forward to the change", said Mr Monti.
The Minister for European Affairs, Moavero Milanesi, then presented a series of data on the situation of older people in Europe and the differences in the perception of retirement between Italy and other EU countries.
The event ended with the presentation of intergenerational activities that were carried out in various schools in Rome, as well as an awards ceremony presenting the best projects carried out during the year in Italy.
Among others present at the closing ceremony were TV personality Pippo Baudo, actress Gina Lollobrigida and journalist Piero Angela, three symbols of Active Ageing in Italy, as well as well as a large number of seniors and children.
Picture gallery of the event.
Click here to browse through a selection of EY2012-related initiatives in Italy.
For more information about the European Year 2012 in Italy you may visit this website.