Manifesto of senior citizens in Germany for the 2019 EP elections

Alongside a powerful appeal to vote in May’s EU elections, German AGE member BAGSO has published its own manifesto for the European elections.

In the manifesto, Germany’s senior citizens call for a ‘YES for Europe’ and calls on all voters to take part in the 2019 elections, which are about the shaping of the future of Europe. BAGSO highlights that while many of the EU’s performances are criticised and silenced, it has created decades-long peace between nations that were former enemies. Only together can the economic, ecological and social challenges be overcome. The following demands are put forward by BAGSO:

  1. We say YES to Europe: we have it in our hands whether Europe can develop its potential
  2. We say YES to a Europe for all generations: the future of all, including of older people, depends on the well-being of the coming generations. We want to build the future of Europe with the coming generations and call upon them to participate and decide on their future.
  3. We say YES to a Europe of long lives: While Europe and Germany experience longer lives, this is connected to challenges linked to social security, care, guaranteeing participation
  4. We say YES to a Europe of equality between women and men. This is not a reality everywhere; a crucial condition is equal pay for equal work, including in old-age income. Women and men should be equally represented in all institutions.
  5. We say YES to a Europe of guaranteed human rights: The protection of the rights of older persons has significant gaps, also in Europe. We are calling to strengthen the rights of older persons and to eliminate age discrimination. This concerns protection from violence, support for care needs, social security, life-long learning and inclusive labnour markets, self-determination, accessibility and mobility; this also concerns the right to asylum as a universal human right, as many of us have experienced forced displacement.
  6. We say YES to a Europe of participation and common ownership. Participation should be enabled for all, through collaboration of all generations. This includes taking part in the elections in the May 2019 elections, by voting for democratic representatives.
  7. We say YES to a Europe of diversity and tolerance. Our history has shown a disrupted and warring Europe, threatened by violence. This must not be repeated, there is sufficient space and prosperity to give everyone equal chances and a safe home. We speak out against racism, anit-semitism and other forms of exclusion.
  8. We say YES to good neighbourhood and peace. Europe is unique in its peaceful living-together of so many cultures. Europe is a champion of respectful living-together and dialogue on equal terms. Such a policy is needed more than ever on the global scene.
  9. We say YES to a sustainable Europe. Over 500 million people form the strongest economic area of the world, creating many freedoms and conditions for a good life in old-age. Working together on ecological, economic and social challenges is all the more urgent. The Sustainable Development Goals 2030 are a great promise of the United Nations to the world, to make it more human, and Europe has responsibility for this.
  10. We say YES to Germany in Europe. Germany was a geographic buffer zone before 1989. Since the German Reunification and the accession of central and eastern European countries, Germany is at the heart of Europe. We have gained our sovereignty, but achieved also responsibility for the future of Europe. Contributing to a reliable Europe also benefits Germany.

Click here to read the full manifesto of BAGSO (in German)

BAGSO has also co-signed a joint statement with the German Federal Youth Ring, the official representation of Youth in Germany.

Voices of older Germans: vote for Europe in the EU elections

German AGE member BAGSO, the federal working group of senior citizen’s organisations, has called on all voters to decide on the future of Europe. BAGSO published video statements from different older persons, and its own election manifesto.

Franz Müntefering, BAGSO president

Franz Müntefering, BAGSO president and former federal minister declared: ‘Europe is the story of our lives, of my generation. We have seen that Europe could care for peace, well-being and solidarity in many aspects, and this should continue to be the case. Our children can have a good future if we strengthen a democratic Europe. My call is to go and vote on 26 May, for a strong majority of democratic parties. Do not let narrow-minded nationalism and injustice win.’

Representatives of BAGSO on their vision of Europe

BAGSO also made older people speak for their own vision of Europe: ’75 years of peace in Europe, this has never been seen before’ / ‘I have witnessed the war’ / ‘I lived in ruins, my father never returned from war’ / ‘Germany was still in conflict with all neighbours by then’ / ‘It is a miracle how well we live together nowadays’ / ‘We have fought for Europe to be a big house for all’ / ‘We have witnessed borders.’ / ‘We do not want to see borders any longer’.

View the full video statements and BAGSO’s electoral manifesto here.

AGE presents its manifesto to European People Party’s President

On 19 December 2018, AGE Secretary-General Anne-Sophie Parent was invited to meet the President of the European People’s Party (EPP), Mr Joseph Daul and the Deputy-Secretary-General of the party. She discussed AGE expectations regarding the EU action to combat age discrimination and ageism, foster older workers’ access to the labour market, allow older persons to combine work and pensions and promote access to quality health and long-term care. Most proposals were met with enthusiasm by the EPP President.

Need to fight age discrimination as a clear signal to citizens

Ms. Parent outlined the challenge of clearly explaining to voters, especially older voters, what they can expect from the European Union and these elections, and how the European Parliament can influence older people’s lives. A concrete measure for this would be to make the fight against age discrimination and other grounds of discrimination more visible in EU internal and external action.’

JosephDaul_EPP_2
EPP President, Mr Joseph Daul


Caring for older people and their place in our societies is an important concern for the EPP. We must make sure that all generations can fully participate in the labour market and that nobody is discriminated because of age. We need safe and equitable pensions – for today and for future generations. Everybody should be able to live in dignity and to participate fully in our societies.’

Mr Joseph Daul, President of the European People’s Party

Employment and retirement policies that support active ageing

As Ms. Parent explained, combating age discrimination is also key for changing the perception of ageing and allowing older people to work for longer if they so wish. The EPP President agreed that it is a nonsense to prohibit working after retirement, as many sectors are lacking skilled workforce and work realities have changed in some sectors, making work less strenuous.

Both agreed that the EU has a role to play here. Ms. Parent shared some examples where AGE’s policy work has been decisive: in access to supplementary pensions, AGE successfully lobbied for reducing the vesting periods that workers need to start acquiring pension rights, a measure that benefits many younger workers who have much shorter job tenures in today’s labour markets.
    

Gender equality and solidarity between generations

Discussions also covered the crucial role of solidarity between generations, a key principle for AGE, as older people are first and foremost interested in the well-being of their grandchildren. Transformations such as the growth of new types of employment, that leave many young people without access to pension, unemployment or health insurance rights are a big challenge to them.

Furthermore, Ms Parent stressed the questions of gender equality, pointing out the large pension gap between women and men remaining and some pension reforms going against the idea of gender equality, such as the reintroduction of different pension ages for women and men. Both agreed that survivor’s pensions are an important right safeguarding many older women from old-age poverty.
  

The EU’s role in health policies

On health policies, Mr. Daul and Ms. Parent exchanged on the evolution in the European medicines market. Europe is more and more dependent on imports for basic medication, which poses not only a challenge for European jobs, but also for security from shocks in world trade and challenges for the security of drugs itself. This is a key area where the EU could take action to avoid shortages.

Mr. Daul and Ms. Parent convened that they would like to collaborate further to encourage older citizens to make an informed vote in this year’s European Parliament’s elections.
  

For more information, please contact Philippe Seidel Leroy at the AGE Secretariat: philippe.seidel@age-platform.eu