Migration from east to west and aging in Europe

ENIEC will organise the upcoming two Annual Meetings as a Diptych in 2022 and 2023. A diptych is term used in the world of art, it is one painting on two panels. We plan to make a great Annual Meeting – painting over the next two years.

Special theme of this diptych is east to west migration inside Europe. Free migration between Eastern and Western European countries is a relatively new phenomenon. We have the evidence from many countries, that relatively big numbers of migrants decide to stay abroad. In The Hague we will discuss on how we can prevent potential problems related to those migrants’ ageing outside of their home country. We are going to share stories about possibilities and problems that might occur for elderly living abroad, and about lessons learned from care in earlier stages of migration.

In 2022, we invite all ENIEC members to The Hague and also migrants and Dutch experts to explore our topic, and in 2023 we will travel to Gdansk for our Annual Meeting, and Polish experts will join us. A lot of Polish people migrated to western European countries, but Poland also has a lot of migrants from countries like Ukraine and Belarus. However, the annual meetings 2002 and 2023 are not particularly about The Hague and Gdańsk. Those two cities are only examples of western and eastern European cities and it’s interesting to hear from other cities and regions in Europe.

The Hague most famous statue ‘Haagse Jantje’ (Little Earl Jan) dressed up in Ukrainian colours and peacetokens

The other important theme of our one-meeting over two years is (re)connection which was always a central topic for ENIEC, but we feel that it is more important than ever. We will discuss the ways how to (re)connect to our aims after COVID-19 and celebrate the 15-year anniversary of ENIEC. We would also like to explore the ways to connect European professionals and volunteers willing to work on better circumstances in healthcare, elderly care, and workspaces.

At the moment, we are looking at the war in Ukraine. Unprecedented numbers of people, mainly women with children and the elderly, flee from Ukraine to find shelter in neighbouring countries. When we decided last year to choose the subject of migration from east to west and aging as the theme for the diptych, we didn’t know how topical (unfortunately) it would become.

ENIEC, as a network of motivated people from many countries, can undoubtedly make a modest contribution to improve the situation somewhat. Let’s meet in The Hague, let’s discuss how to make the elderly refugees feel at home in our countries. At the same time, we must be aware that a lot of elderly were not able to join their families abroad or escape from the war, and this topic also needs our attention.

We are looking forward to meeting you in The Hague!