AGE publishes questions to candidate Commissioners

With the upcoming hearings of the candidate Commissioners, we are at a key moment to make sure that the EU addresses the challenges posed by the ageing of the population. To do so, we need clear commitments from the future College of Commissioners.

AGE has therefore drafted a series of recommendations and questions to the candidate Commissioners. They are dealing with a broad range of issues of concern for older Europeans, e.g. fundamental rights, economic reforms, social protection systems, transport, tourism, consumers’ protection, accessibility, health, research.

AGE recommendations and questions have been grouped according to EP Committees’ competences:

We hope that the candidate Commissioners will take position on the challenges AGE is raising during the hearings at the European Parliament in September.

Dear Mr Juncker, congratulations with your election. We await with great impatience the appointment of the Commissioner in charge of the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights

AGE Platform Europe congratulates Mr Juncker for his election as President of the European Commission. Older Europeans took note with great interest of his commitment to appoint a Commissioner in charge of the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and now hope this person will take forward an ambitious agenda to protect EU citizens’ rights, regardless of their age.

Today, the European Parliament elected Mr Juncker for a 5 year term as President of the European Commission with a comfortable majority. He now has few days to finalise his list of portfolios to constitute the new Commission. This is a key moment to ensure that Mr Juncker’s commitments are taken forward by the next College of Commissioners.

AGE welcomes the promise to appoint a Commissioner in charge of the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. We believe such position will help the EU to adopt a coherent and coordinated approach to address the situation of fundamental rights in all EU Member States.

EU’s approach to the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights has been so far on an ad hoc and fragmented basis and there is incoherence between how rights are addressed in EU’s internal and external action, which entails important disparities about how EU citizens can access their rights.

We therefore hope that the new Commissioner will take concrete steps to render the interventions of the EU institutions and the Member States in the area of fundamental rights more structured, better coordinated, effective and accountable.We further expect a close consultation and involvement of civil society to shape EU’s priorities in the area of fundamental rights.

Age discrimination is a key aspect here. Older Europeans are discriminated against in many areas of their lives, including access to employment and health, age limits in financial services and insurance products, and this has to stop if we want to build a Europe based on equality, fairness and inclusion.

Such Commissioner will have to play a crucial role to push as soon as possible the EU Council to adopt the long-awaited draft directive on equal treatment, as Mr Juncker promised this morning at the European Parliament. This would give the EU the relevant tools to fight against discrimination in all areas of its citizens’ lives and would close the existing gap in the implementation of article 25 of the EU Charter.

We also call Mr Juncker to adopt an EU Strategy on Demographic change to make sure that challenges posed by the ageing of the population will be addressed adequately and in a coordinated way in the coming years.

As the largest network representing older people in Europe, we remain committed to closely collaborate with the new President and future College of Commissioners to make the EU more age-friendly.


Useful links:

AGE Manifesto for the European Elections 2014 (here)

AGE proposals for questions to the candidate President of the European Commission (here)

AGE recommendations to the new EU leaders (here)

Dear Mr. Juncker, Europe is ageing fast and strong political action is needed to secure a sustainable and fair future for all generations

Ahead of the election of the President of the European Commission tomorrow in Strasbourg, AGE Platform Europe calls on MEPs to check Mr. Juncker’s commitments to tackle positively population ageing. Demographic change, if addressed adequately by EU leaders, is a key opportunity to implement innovative solutions that will make Europe a better place to work and live and help the EU create new jobs and find sustainable solutions for our ageing population.

In 2012, there were 190 million people aged 50 years and over in the EU, up from 178 million five years previously, according to Eurofound. Huge impacts on Member States’ social security systems are expected in the coming years.

Demographic and climate changes are two major challenges facing Europe. They are also the two main areas where huge opportunities for economic growth, innovation and social justice can be developed in the coming decade if there is political will behind.

The next President of the European Commission will have a key role to play to reinforce the implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy to ensure fair and sustainable growth and prosperity of European citizens at every stage of life. But for the moment the EU is lacking a coordinated approach to demographic change.

AGE calls on EU leaders to adopt an EU Strategy on Demographic Change to help coordinate and build synergies between EU policies on which demographic change have an impact. This includes the social dimension of the European Semester, the situation of fundamental rights, the realisation of EU citizens’ rights in the internal market and the implementation of the Structural funds.

In this framework, a EU Strategy on Demographic Change should become a main vector for economic growth and help EU Member States and regions adapt to the needs of their rapidly ageing populations in ways that are sustainable and fair to all generations and ensure equality between men and women. In other words, it will help create an Age-Friendly European Union.

Last week, we welcomed Mr Juncker’s recognition of the unfair social consequences of austerity measures and will carefully monitor his commitment to ensure social justice during this new term. Social assessments of reforms are key tools here to guarantee adequacy and sustainability of social security systems for all generations, regardless of their age and income.

The EU must also remain at the forefront in terms of protection of fundamental rights. This includes fighting against any form of age discrimination and we call on MEPs to question Mr Juncker on his willingness to develop all necessary tools to protect older persons’ rights in Europe, including via relaunching the stalled discussions on the draft directive on equal treatment outside employment.

AGE calls on MEPs to ask the right questions tomorrow in Strasbourg and invites them to read our proposals for questions here. These questions are backed by the European Disability Forum, the European Anti-Poverty Network, the European Women’s Lobby and the European Public Health Alliance.

Useful links:

AGE Manifesto for the European Elections 2014 (here)

AGE proposals for questions to the candidate President of the European Commission (here)

AGE recommendations to the new EU leaders (here)