Etuc and Ferpa General Secretaries’ letter to the President of the European Commission
and the President of the European Parliament

Dear President von der Leyen, Dear President Sassoli,

We welcome the emergency measures that the European Commission has recently adopted. The economic resources allocated to ensure the appropriate functioning of health systems in the fight against Covid-19 and to support businesses, protect workers from unemployment and loss of income in this delicate period, are clearly needed. Trade Unions are now putting pressure on their governments to avail of such emergency measures without delay.
However, more specific and targeted health and economic measures are urgently needed to contain and stop the spread of the virus and to better manage the health, economic and employment effects of this unprecedented pandemic.
Covid-19 is infecting thousands of people across Europe and throughout the world. However, the ones paying the highest price, often with their life, are citizens over the age of 70. They are more prone to be infected and to die as a result of contracting this virus. The more vulnerable being the over-80s who are already affected by other diseases.
We recognise the severity of this health emergency and acknowledge the great commitment of doctors, nurses and all health personnel who are in the front line to treat and save lives. However, at this stage we believe it is essential that you intervene with the governments of individual countries so that the elderly, especially those with disabilities, in fragile conditions and those living alone, are given special attention and targeted health care.
In particular we would like to bring to your attention the delicate circumstances in which the elderly people residing in old people’s homes and long-term care facilities are finding themselves in. The situation is becoming dramatic in many European countries due to several outbreaks of the virus in such facilities, the staff of which are often not adequately protected.
Additionally, social assistance is needed to prevent older people from feeling lonelier, discriminated and abandoned as a result of the restrictive mobility and social relations measures implemented by governments to prevent the spread of this contagious virus.
European Trade Union Confederation | Luca Visentini, General Secretary | Bld du Roi Albert II, 5, B – 1210 Brussels | +32 (0)2 224 04 11 | |
We hope that solidarity between European countries and between generations will be strengthened because it is only by standing together that we can defeat this terrible coronavirus. We are counting on your intervention to defend of the health of all European citizens and in particular of the elderly, who are the most vulnerable people. They are the generation that contributed to build the European Union and they are the ones that are now paying too high price with too many deaths.

Yours sincerely,

Luca Visentini, ETUC General Secretary
Agostino Siciliano, FERPA General Secretary

April 15th 2020

Read the original letter in PDF format

Agostino Siciliano’s new message:
Solidarity and brotherhood in Europe today and tomorrow

Dear Colleagues,

First of all, I hope you and your loved ones are all well. I am concerned and saddened by this situation…we are living through terrible times in our respective countries because of the pandemic that is causing thousands of people to be infected and so many deaths.
This week, we were supposed to meet all of us in Brussels for the EXCO meeting. Unfortunately, we are all confined to slow down and avoid any contagion from Covid-19.
We all know that this serious health situation, which particularly affects the elderly, will have a negative impact on the world economy and more particularly on Europe and its various states. I would like to share with you some of my thoughts and ideas in order to try to find strategies together to continue and improve, together and as members of FERPA, our role in the defence of the millions of elderly and retired people in Europe.
The questions I am asking myself are the following:
When we, soon I hope, emerge from this situation, will Europe and the various governments take account of what has happened to prevent it from happening again in their future choices in terms of economic policy, development and research?
Everyone recognises the commitment of doctors, nurses and all health sector workers who are on the front line to save lives. In the future, will there be investments in public health systems to improve them beyond the usual logic of cuts and privatization, as this emergency has highlighted the shortcomings, difficulties and damage caused in many countries by the constant reductions in welfare and public health.
Will the European Union be able to make economic policy choices to manage this crisis without placing the burden on workers and pensioners as it did with the financial crisis of 2008?
The scientific community has sounded the alarm about the high mortality of older people because they are vulnerable and therefore more at risk. Will European nations take this reality into account in the future and encourage policies to promote active and healthy ageing for as many citizens as possible?
Today, we do not know how the European Union and the governments of our respective countries will act, nor what policies they will adopt on these issues. FERPA and all its members must be ready to act with our demands. Many of the answers to these questions can be found in the work we are doing through the dossiers. These dossiers will enable FERPA to play a more incisive role vis-à-vis the European institutions.
We must also, I repeat, ensure that the austerity policies and the cuts due to the crisis are not implemented for the sake of supposedly defending the jobs and incomes of workers and pensioners.
I understand how difficult it is to talk about trade unionism and our ongoing issues during this painful time for all of us when thousands of people are infected and die because of VIDOC-19. I apologize for this intrusion but I thought it would be useful to keep in touch with you during these dark times and to strengthen the solidarity between us through work that will certainly be useful in advocating for the interests of the seniors and retirees we represent. This work can also help us to look beyond this terrible pandemic, so that we can arrive at our mid-term Assembly in October with the completed dossiers on the basis of which we will be able to build a project of common demands.
I express my solidarity and fraternity with all of you, as well as with Jessica and Henri.

My warmest greetings.

Agostino Siciliano
General Secretary

March 26th, 2020


COVID-19: The message of the Secretary General Ferpa

Dear Colleagues,

The European Commission has presented emergency measures, to be approved by the Eurogroup and ECOFIN on 16 and 17 March, which will allocate economic resources in the fight against Covid-19 in order to guarantee the functioning of health systems and with the aim of supporting Member States so that they can support businesses and protect workers from unemployment and loss of income, which could have permanent effects.
ETUC General Secretary Luca Visentini, in a letter dated 13 March, called on all European trade union leaders to put pressure on their governments to adopt without delay the emergency measures proposed by the European Commission. The ETUC Executive Committee, meeting in Brussels on 9 and 10 March, in a declaration on the epidemic, had already stressed the need to take appropriate measures to stop and contain the spread of the virus and to better manage the health, economic and employment effects of this unprecedented difficult situation.
As far as FERPA is concerned more directly, Covid-19, as you know, mainly infects the elderly and people with serious illnesses. In Italy, to date, the people most affected, both in terms of positivity and in terms of deaths, are those over 70 years of age, with a peak for octogenarians, who are affected by a certain pathology. It is therefore necessary to put pressure on the governments of our respective countries to ensure that elderly people, especially those with disabilities, those living in fragile conditions and those living alone, receive adequate health and social care, so that they no longer feel alone, discriminated against and abandoned, due to the restrictive measures on mobility and social relations decided by governments to prevent the spread of this contagious virus.
In Italy, the situation is dramatic and is facing drastic measures and a strong appeal to its citizens’ sense of responsibility. Unfortunately, the virus is also spreading to other European countries and I hope that we will be able to share experiences of what has already been done in other countries, medical and pharmacological experiences, diagnostic protocols for prevention, in order to avoid contagion from the outset and to save lives.
Dear colleagues from FERPA, your concerns are also mine, but I am convinced that together and with our determination, we will succeed in strengthening solidarity in Europe without raising borders, in order to overcome this terrible pandemic as soon as possible to defend the health of all European citizens and in particular the elderly, who are the most vulnerable.

My most fraternal greetings.

General Secretary

March 17th, 2020


Presentation of Agostino Siciliano, general secretary of FERPA

Dear Visitor,
welcome to the website of the European Trade Union Federation representing retired, pensionners and elderly people (FERPA).

Agostino Siciliano • General Secretary
Agostino Siciliano • General Secretary

In a European context that tends to disintegrate, FERPA will try, together with the European Confederation of the Trade Unions (ETUC), to strengthen its role to affect the choices of economic policy, in order to have a Europe:

  1. with more cohesion and solidarity;
  2. with new social balances and with more unity among peoples;
  3. that is able to improve the living conditions of millions of European citizens of any age and origin;
  4. guaranteeing work for all and adequate pensions for the elderly, to make them continue to live with dignity, reducing poverty, inequality and unemployment.

To this end, the exchange of information and communications is a determining part, and therefore FERPA, through its website, will try to open a window on what is happening in Europe, in individual countries and in the ETUC.

Dear Visitor, “join us!”, As with your contribution we can try, with more force, to achieve a more united and less bureaucratic, more just and supportive Europe.