ESU at the EPP Congress: Together towards an age-friendly society

ESU_pos_FBprofielfoto-def2ESU is the largest political seniors’ organisation in Europe, member association of the European People’s Party and is represented in 27 states with 37 organisations and about 1.269.000 members.

ESU organized several activities (meetings, round tables) with MEPs, and submitted a resolution on creating an Age-friendly society which was adopted during the EPP election Congress (6-7 th March) in Dublin.

Our European dream

We, seniors have seen Europe growing from a divided, destroyed and deprived Europe after World War II to what is now an era of freedom and peace, prosperity and democracy, where citizens travel, live and work freely. We have every reason to be proud of the dream of the founding fathers and of what Europe has achieved. But we do not take these achievements for granted. Uniting Europe in freedom, democracy, justice and solidarity is a challenge for every day.

Our key challenge

We believe in people of all generations to lead Europe out of the recent crises. We want our economies to return to growth that produces jobs, with young people looking to their future with confidence, seniors feeling proud of their accomplishments and families protected and strengthened to endorse the challenges and risks of changing societies. One of the key challenges of today’s societies is demographic change. The EU, the Member States and all citizens, together we are called to cope with the gains, strengths and limitations of ageing societies. We, senior citizens, want to be part of a better Europe for all ages.

For a better Europe for all citizens we highlight

  • No age-discrimination

Everyone, regardless of age, gender or dependency is entitled to enjoy the fundamental human rights, lead a life of dignity and independence and participate in social and cultural life.

  • An age-friendly society

An age-friendly society is an effective approach for responding to demographic changes
o based on a positive attitude to ageing
o with services and structures accessible to all,
o enabling active participation and involvement,
o providing protection, support and empowerment.

  • Active ageing

An inclusive labour market enabling older workers to remain at work for longer. Use and promote age diversity and intergenerational learning.

  • Intergenerational solidarity

Adequate, fair and sustainable social protection systems (health care, long-term care, pensions, …) for both current and future generations.

  • Human dignity for the most vulnerable

Improvement of the application of universal human standards to persons of all stages of life, also to persons who have reached old age and, in particular, the most vulnerable older people, people at risk of poverty, abuse, loneliness, …

  • Learn from each other

Europewide networks and movements to mainstream the promotion of an age-friendly society in all relevant EU policy processes and funding programmes to create synergies and support action at all levels.

  • A challenge for all

The European Union, governments at all levels, researchers, stakeholders, the media, civil society and all citizens are called to create, promote and stimulate a long life society, respecting all age groups.

Besides, An Hermans, ESU President, was interviewed during the EPP Congress: ‘We don’t need a battle of generations. We stand for intergenerational solidarity. Older persons are not a burden to society. We need a new dynamic image of older people, participating in all areas of society .’ Together we have to cope with what we call ‘ageing societies’.

On youth unemployment, the panel agreed that we need concentrated measures, but also new initiatives to create an attractive social and financial environment to retain older workers in the workplace. ‘It is not only a responsibility of governments’ An Hermans concluded. ’All labour market related agents need to be involved in these challenges’.

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