‘More and more decisions that influence the everyday lives of senior citizens – and citizens in general – are taken at the level that is now colloquially known as “Brussels”. In the present prolonged period of crisis, many of them are restrictive and sometimes harsh. At the same time, the rapid changes in the demographic structure confront every section of our societies with questions that need to be answered in a suitable way. Reasons enough also for those who tend to complain. But before we start complaining, before we acquire the justified right to complain, we should first make good use of the tools that are available to citizens – and senior citizens – in the structure of the European Union’s institutions and decision making processes, and we should use them to our own advantage to make the EU a pleasant place to live for every generation. And amongst the most important of these tools are the European Parliament and our rights not only to vote for our favoured candidate but to monitor her/his acts and deeds for the whole legislation period and react – to make European democracy more participatory.’, said Marjan Sedmak, AGE Platform Europe President
In these times of economic crisis and austerity measures, informing EU citizens about the EU’s role and encouraging them to take part in the upcoming European Parliament elections is very important if we want to ensure that the elections’ results will reflect what citizens really want. Therefore, AGE Platform Europe understands the European Commission’s decision to pursue the objectives of the EYC2013 in 2014 in order to foster the participation of European citizens in the European elections, as announced by European Commission’s Vice-President Viviane Reding at the EYC2013 Closing Conference.
AGE has developed a blog ‘Towards an Age-friendly European Parliament as a platform for discussion between MEPs and older EU citizens on AGE Manifesto for the European Parliament elections 2014. The blog will also be used as a channel for sharing information on on-going campaigns for the elections and issues of concern for older persons in Europe. We believe that this tool will help us raise awareness about EU policies and the reasons why citizens need to participate in a meaningful way in the upcoming elections.
Towards an active senior citizenship
Elections are not the only way for citizens to influence decision-making processes. Civil dialogue on ageing and the involvement of older persons are key to contributing to the creation of an age-friendly European Union and to re-building the confidence of European citizens in the European project. Therefore, AGE is helping its member organisations to engage senior citizens in the debate around the EP elections, convince them to vote next May and to remain involved in a close dialogue with their MEPs to influence EU policymaking.
Building on the ‘Guide for civil dialogue on Promoting Older people’s social inclusion’ and the brochure ‘Active Senior Citizens for Europe’, AGE and the other partners of the project are providing senior citizens with trainings on the functioning of the EU and the possibilities to interact with EU policy makers through the Active Senior Citizens for Europe (ASCE) project, launched on 1st September 2013.
In February 2014, we will launch a task force on “Active citizenship and Participation”. It will aim at exchanging examples of good practice among AGE members, as well as discussing innovative approaches in involving older people in decision making at local, regional, national and European levels. It will also support AGE’s campaign for an age-friendly European Union, whose objectives are highlighted in the Manifesto for the European Elections.
Our commitment for a policy agenda for EU citizenship