This manifesto has been adopted by the General Assembly of AGE Platform Europe, the EU’s largest network of older peoples’ organisations, in June 2018.
Achieving equal rights and dignity for older persons
In 2017, nearly one in five of the EU residents was aged 65 and more. Moreover, the importance of the very old (aged 80 years or above) is growing at a faster pace than any other age segment of the EU’s population. Their share in the EU28 could more than double between 2017 and 2080, from 6% to 13%.
Many older women and men are making significant contributions to society, for example as workers, through mentoring young people, caring for grandchildren or relatives. Yet ageism still restricts the autonomy and poses barriers to the full and equal participation of older people in different areas of individual and community life. Respect for dignity and autonomy are universal human rights that apply to persons of all ages and central prerequisites to effective and meaningful participation in society. The United Nations 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals fulfil the pledge to leave no one behind.
At EU level, the solemnly proclaimed European Pillar of Social Rights and EU strategies, such as the Digital Single Market provide an adequate framework for Member States to take action to protect older persons’ rights and gender equality in old age. The future EU budget should help to deliver on EU post-2020 social and non-discrimination objectives, while a renewed political impulse is needed to unblock the proposed horizontal non-discrimination directive.
The European Parliament has been the champion in advocating for social justice and equality. The 2019 EP elections come at a turning point for the European Union which urgently needs to reconnect with its citizens and represent their interest.
We wish a forward-looking EU where not only economy and growth matter, but where concrete action is taken to ensure that everyone is valued and empowered to lead an active and autonomous life regardless of age, gender, race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, or sexual orientation.
Pursuing our aim of an age-friendly European Union and supporting the reflection on an international convention on the rights of older persons taking place at the UN Open Ended Working Group on Ageing, we call on candidate MEPs to ensure that elimination of age discrimination will become an identified EU priority on equal foot to all other grounds of discrimination in EU treaties, and to take action to:
1. Enhance older perosns’ rights through combating ageism and age-discrimination
2. Ensure a life-course perspective on work and create inclusive labour markets
3. Ensure adequate pensions and old-age income for both women and men
4. Protect the right to live and age in dignity through adequate, person-centred health and long-term care accessible to all
5. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages
6. Enable universal access to goods and services in today’s digitalised society, including for older persons
As future MEP, AGE calls on you to push for the EU to support member states to develop national strategies on ageing with the active involvement of older persons and their organisations. Finally we count on your commitment to re-establish in the European Parliament the Intergroup on Ageing and Solidarity between Generations to keep ageing issues high on the EP’s agenda.