The very first European Year, in 1983, was dedicated to small business (“SMEs”) and craft industry. Every year since, the EU has chosen a specific subject to encourage debate and dialogue within and between European countries. 2012 was dedicated to active ageing and solidarity between generations. AGE Platform Europe coordinated then the stakeholders’ coalition and was an active actor of the Year. Three years later, the European Parliament worked on the implementation report and adopted an own report on the Year’s outcomes and follow-up.
What is there for older persons?
The Parliament welcomes that the Year has been the occasion to underline that older people are not a burden on the economy and society, but rather – through their experience, their achievements and their knowledge – an asset.
In the report, MEPs consider it very important that the initiatives launched as part of EY 2012 are followed up and transformed into a strong political commitment followed by concrete action to ensure social inclusion, active participation and the well-being of all generations, and to combat and prevent discrimination in all spheres of life.
If MEPs underline the challenge of unemployment among older workers, they also reject the consideration of active ageing policies solely as an instrument to maintain the employability of older workers, but rather as the process of optimising opportunities for health and for participation in society in order to ensure that people can retain a good standard of living and quality of life as they age.
Moreover, they urge the Commission and Member States to:
- develop and maintain people-oriented and demand-driven public support, universal assistance and care services
- promote and strengthen high-quality public infrastructure for older persons (homes, day centres and home support), with the latter being active participants rather than passive recipients of the initiatives in which they take part
- adopt a European strategy on dementia
- adopt an Action Plan on elder abuse
- offer opportunities for life-long learning and promote intergenerational training and transfer of knowledge at work
- ensure sustainability of public pension schemes and to guarantee individual and adequate pension income and rights for all to ensure a dignified life in old age – including those who have taken justified career breaks
- develop an inclusive Digital Single Market strategy by ensuring that accessibility is mainstreamed throughout the strategy and linked with the promotion of the ‘silver economy’ in Europe
- release the long-awaited European Accessibility Act to ensure that transport, housing and ICT-based products and services, are accessible to older persons
- improve the accessibility and interoperability of transport systems
The Parliament also supports the work done at UN level on the rights of older persons, the upcoming Covenant on demographic change, WHO work on age-friendly environments and the Active Ageing index.
Furthermore, MEPs stress that reliable statistics on the situation of older people and on demographic change are needed to develop better targeted and effective active ageing strategies and called on the Commission to ensure comprehensive high-quality data collection on the societal status of older people, their health, rights and standard of living.
Last but not least, the report lists different sources of European funding usable in the field of active ageing and calls on Member States to use them to follow-up on the momentum created by the Year.
To read the full report, click here.