Older citizens meet supportive MEPs in Brussels

On 16th October 2019, older citizens representing national members of AGE Platform Europe traveled all the way to Brussels to meet their newly elected Members of the European Parliament.

Elections are always a time of reshuffling. These European elections 2019 were no exception, with a European Parliament welcoming a substantial share of new MEPs. Since June 2019 then, older citizens and their representative organisations have been working in coordination to establish new contacts with their elected representatives. The objective of this post-election campaign was two-fold:

  • Present AGE and its member organisations as relevant interlocutor when it comes to ageing;
  • Re-establish an Intergroup on Demographic Change and Solidarity between Generations for the next term to ensure the European Parliament will be equipped with a dedicated forum to discuss all these matters.

This campaign peaked with a ceremony in the premises of the European Parliament on 16th October 2019 where older citizens invited and met their MEPs. We warmly thank MEP Brando Benifei, one of the youngest members of the European Parliament, who kindly hosted the event and thus, gave a concrete example of the intergenerational ambition of the Intergroup.

AGE members had the honour to welcome MEP Rainer Wieland, Vice-President of the European Parliament who gave an introductory word much in line with the spirit of the Intergroup:

‘It is not my idea of society that one-part talks about old white men and women and another part talks about young people that must be taught’ said Mr. Wieland.

The Intergroup on Demographic Change and Solidarity between Generation is fuelled with the desire to keep the discussions going among all political groups to address the challenges coming along demographic change ‘not as a threat but as an opportunity to renew our generational contract’, reminded AGE President, Ebbe Johansen.

Elizabeth Gosme, Director of COFACE-Families Europe, who is campaigning together with AGE for the re-establishment of the Intergroup, emphasised how supporting carers, and promoting the autonomy of persons with disabilities are important to build solidarity between generations.

We had the pleasure to welcome among the participants to this ceremony MEPs Bettina Vollath, Franc Bogovic, Milan Brglez, Tanja Fajon, Marisa Matias, Ljudmila Novak, Romana Tomc, Carlos Zorrinho and Julie Ward.

> Discover the pictures of the event
> Visit AGE Platform Europe’s website for more

For more information:

Slovene MEPs fully aware of demographic changes ahead!

The Slovene Federation of Pensioners Associations (ZDUS) is one of the largest and oldest NGOs in Slovenia that brings together more than 190.000 members across Slovenia, which is almost 10 % of the entire Slovene population. Although ZDUS is a non-party organisation, it has been trying for years to keep good relations with all political parties, Government representatives and the representatives we elect to represent us in the European Parliament.

ZDUS tries to maintain constant contact with these representatives throughout the year, seeking support on matters that concern older people on national and EU level. The latter is most intensive during campaigning period and after elections.

We must say that, as older people represent a very large group of loyal voters, the interest for cooperation is mutual. This year was no exception.

The new 2019-2024 term has brought some new faces to our European political field and this was a reason more to establish immediate contact during the campaign period and especially after elections. ZDUS wrote to all elected Slovene MEPs, congratulated them for the elections and alerted them that we need their support to re-establish the Intergroup for Demographic Changes and Solidarity between Generations.

We took advantage that all of them spoke about demographic challenges during campaign period and manifested that they are fully aware that Europe is ageing and that we need policies that will adapt to such rapid changes. We extended our hand for cooperation on these matters and we were greeted with more than a welcome.

In a matter of 14 days all the MEPs gave support for the re-establishment of the group and some proposed to meet us personally in the following days.

Slovene MEP’s that support the re-establishment of the Intergroup for Demographic Change and Solidarity between Generations are (in alphabetical order): Franc Bogovič (EPP), Milan Brglez (S&D), Tanja Fajon (S&D), Klemen Grošelj (Renew Europe), Irena Joveva (Renew Europe), Ljudmila Nova (EPP), Romana Tomc (EPP) and Milan Zver (EPP).

A new EU Vice-President Commissioner for Democracy and Demography

For the first time ever, a Vice-President in charge of Democracy and Demography has been designated by the European Commission President-elect. Dubravka Šuica, from Croatia, will lead the Commission’s work on ensuring that Europe understands and responds to one of its deepest lying challenges: demographic change. This nomination echoes AGE’s call for a dedicated Commissioner as part of a comprehensive EU Strategy on demographic change and solidarity between generations.

Particularly to be welcomed is the comprehensive approach described in VP Šuica’s mission letter, with a focus on the long-term impact of demographic ageing on care and pensions, as well as on the impact on the different groups in society and on the areas and regions that are the most affected. The mission letter outlines a number of key policy actions, in line with what AGE has been advocating for, such as the need to foster active ageing, improve work-life balance and develop a long-term vision for rural areas.

The nomination of dedicated EU Vice-President to coordinate EU work on demographic change echoes the letter sent by AGE in July to Dr. Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission.

In its letter to Dr. von der Leyen, AGE called for “an EU strategy on demographic change and solidarity between generations with a dedicated Commissioner’s portfolio to coordinate all EU related actions with an aim of ensuring equality, social justice and prosperity for younger and older generations”.

These nominations still need to be validated by the European Parliament after the hearings of all Vice-President and Commissioner-designates, and before the newly appointed European Commission can start on 1st November 2019.

Read AGE Press Release about Mrs. Šuica’s nomination