On May 29, 36 Members of the European Parliament have sent a letter to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Council President Charles Michel, calling for upholding the EU treaty principle of solidarity between generations during the COVID-19 crisis and recovery.
The MEPs invite the two institutions to seriously consider the situation of older persons and informal carers during the crisis and call for a reflection on how to protect the human rights of persons of all ages.
The MEPs express their concerns about the following points:
- Lack of personal protective equipment for carers, testing and treatment for persons in need for long-term care and assistance, both in residential and home care
- The negative effects of singling out older persons in the rolling back of confinement measures
- Recognising the important role of informal carers who have to bear most of the reduction of care services and schooling during confinement
- The need to step up investment into health promotion, disease prevention and the rebuilding of resilient health and long-term care systems
They also call for no further delays in advancing the reflection on demographic change and ageing, included into the Commission’s 2020 Work Programme, but postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The letter was initiated by MEPs Milan Brglez and Jaroslaw Duda, with support from AGE Platform Europe and COFACE-Families Europe. Signatories come from five political groups (S&D, EPP, Renew Europe, Greens/EFA and GUE/NGL) and non-inscribed members.
Beyond the initiators, the list of signatories include:
Alvaro Amaro (PT), Pernando Barrena (ES), Isabel Carvalhais (PT), Antoni Comin Oliveres (ES), Jaroslaw Duda (PL), Estrella Dura Ferrandis (ES), Tanja Fajon (SI), Frances Fitzgerald (IE), Alexis Georgoulis (EL), Maria Grapini (RO), Klemen Groselj (SI), Krzysztof Hetman (PL), Agnes Jongerius (NL), Irena Joveva (SI), Petros Kokkalis (EL), Athanasios Konstantinou (EL), Dietmar Köster (DE), Maria Manuel Leitao Marques (PT), Miriam Lexmann (SK), Lukas Mandl (AT), Niklas Nienass (DE), Ljudmila Novak (SI), Juozas Olekas (LI), Manuel Pizarro (PT), Clara Ponsati Obiols (ES), Carles Puigdemont I Casamajo (ES), Bronis Rope (LI), Isabel Santos (PT), Sylwia Spurek (PL), Inese Vaidere (LT), Bettina Vollath (AT), Elena Yoncheva (BU), Chrysoula Zacharopoulou (FR), Carlos Zorrinho (PT).
Response by Commission President von der Leyen
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen responded to the letter stressing the importance of intergenerational solidarity in the EU’s response to the crisis. She supported the call to leave no place for ageism and to uphold the EU Fundamental Rights Charter article 25 on the rights of the elderly and the European Pillar of Social Rights. She emphasised the Commission’s work for a joint European Roadmap to lift confinement measures while protecting vulnerable groups and taking into account the effects of confinement on people’s well-being. Ms von der Leyen pointed out the efforts the Commission is undertaking in creating stocks forpersonal protective equipment and the efforts to use funding by the European Social Fund to support member States. She also announced measures on work-life balance for informal carers and highlighted the proposal for a modified Multiannual Financial Framework, including social investments and measures to manage the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, including by complementing the funding with a European Recovery Instrument.