It is important that citizens of Europe, of all ages, have a strong sense that the people they elect to the European Parliament genuinely have their interests at heart. As Europe grows, it can be a challenge for the citizens of individual Members State to maintain a strong bond with the European project. The European Parliament elections present an opportunity for citizens and prospective parliamentarians to become connected at national level while focusing on issues that affect people across the EU. While citizens must take responsibility for using their vote – a privilege that we mustn’t forget has been hard won over past centuries; those hoping to be elected must listen to and show that they hear the concerns of the electorate
The AGE manifesto, which represents the concerns of the 165 million older people in Europe, articulates clearly what we as older people want our representatives to campaign on our behalf. Developing an Age Friendly European Union will benefit all ages, as well as those fortunate enough to live into older age. Age friendly environments are about a new way of looking at the built environment, accessibility to public services, ICTs and age friendly work places; an age-friendly environment also recognizes that physical activity, participation in creativity and social connectivity are key ingredients contributing to physical and mental health into older age.
We are now presented with a new possibility, the hope of living to an older age with a better quality of life than ever before in history.
As older people, we look to our MEPs to be our partners in this enterprise; that they will insist on human rights for all ages, that they will work to ensure fairness and sustainability of our social and health protection systems and above all that they will listen to us older people whenever decisions are being made that affect us. Together we can develop a new vision of ageing that will hopefully be available for all of us – together we can create a new old.