The importance of the European Elections on 26 May was the focus of a recent article published in the largest magazine for pensioners in Sweden (“PROpensionären“). Philippe Seidel, from AGE Platform Europe highlights the growing role of the European Parliament and the importance of strong social policies in the EU.
“If opponents of the EU with a nationalist agenda will get more influence in the upcoming European elections on 26 May, it can be difficult to cooperate on social policy issues among the EU Member States”according to AGE Platform Europe
It will negatively affect older people in Europe if the far-right movement with a nationalistic agenda from Member States reach the European Parliament, states Philippe Seidel.
“The European Pillar of Social Rights is a game changer“
The expressed concern also stems from the fact that ongoing policy processes can be blocked. Under the current term of the European Parliament, important milestones have been achieved in the field of social policy, including the European Pillar of Social Rights that builds upon 20 key principles towards delivering new and more effective rights for citizens.
“These non-binding principles has created a new focus on social issues”says Philippe Seidel
A concrete outcome of the Social Pillar is the provisional agreement around the Work-Life Balance Directive that, if approved by the Council of the European Union, will for the first time recognise informal carers and give them a right to take five days of carers’ leave per year. With influential representatives of European extreme right-wing in the European Parliament, it is less likely that similar agreements would be concluded.
These are the topics related to older age that Swedish political parties push for in the European Parliament:
- Liberals “We combat ageism and age discrimination in all fields.” “The right and possibility for older people who can and are willing to work should be strengthened.“
- Centre Party (Liberal) “Sufficient means should be available to carry out research on old-age related issues.“
- Green Party “Age discrimination needs to be abolished! We work hard towards an anti-discrimination directive that will protect against discrimination on the ground of age.“
- Moderate Party (Liberal-conservative) “We want the EU to increase its work on cross-border crime where older people are targeted as victims.“