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.Continue reading “‘Solidarity between Generations must guide us through the crisis’, MEPs say to Commission & Council”
The COVID19 crisis has seen diverging and often discriminatory treatment of vulnerable groups and unveiled the deficiencies in addressing demographic change. The discussion on demographic change and solidarity between generations should be at the heart of the efforts for a post-pandemic society, therefore the European Commission should not delay this discussion.
On the occasion of the EU Day of Solidarity between Generations, 29 April 2020, eleven MEPs from five political groups have questioned the Commission on its plans. The question for written answer has been signed by MEPs Milan Brglez (SI, S&D), Jaroslaw Duda (PL, EPP), Brando Benifei (IT, S&D), Fred Predrag Matic (HR, S&D), Irena Joveva (SI, Renew), Klemen Groselj (SI, Renew), Manuel Pizarro (PT, S&D), Chrysoula Zacharopoulou (FR, Renew), Marisa Matias (PT, GUE/NGL), José Gusmao (PT, GUE/NGL) and Niklas Nienass (DE, Greens/EFA).
In her response (available in the same languages), Commission Vice-President Dubravka Suica indicates that the Commission has included refrences to the princile of Solidarity between Generations in the proposals for a COVID-19 recovery fund and has meanwhile published the Report on Demographic Change. The discussion on the Green Paper on Ageing has been postponed from end-2020 towards 2021 to focus on the immediate crisis response.
Text of the Question for written answer
In the run-up to the European Day of Solidarity between Generations on 29 April, the emergency response to COVID-19 has rightly taken centre stage on the European agenda. Diverging and often inadequate treatment of vulnerable groups (including older people, persons with disabilities, children, women, etc.) has revealed pre-existing deficiencies in addressing demographic change. Furthermore, the COVID-19 crisis and Member States’ responses have underlined the need for better EU coordination and common action on health and social protection.
Demographic change and solidarity between generations must therefore be at the heart of discussions in the EU as we move towards a post-pandemic society and economy which must accommodate our ageing societies, and ensure everyone’s human rights are fully upheld.
The Commission included a Report on the Impact of Demographic Change and a Green Paper on Ageing in its 2020 Work Programme, but has delayed publication of the Report due to COVID-19.
1. What actions does the Commission intend to take to initiate the discussion urgently needed in response to EU demographic challenges in the context of the COVID-19 crisis and its aftermath?
2. What will the postponement of the publication of the Report mean for the Green Paper on Ageing?
Answer of Commission Vice-President Suica
The question for written answer was replied to by Commission Vice-President for Demography and Democracy, Ms Dubravka Suica, on 29 July 2020:
|1. While the Commission continues its efforts to protect lives and livelihoods and chart a path for Europe’s recovery, it continues to work to address more structural changes, including the twin green and digital transitions and the impact of demographic change. Demography is a priority for the Commission and has a dedicated portfolio for the first time to address these issues. Demographic change reflects long-term challenges that build up and unfold over many decades. It is too early to draw definitive conclusions on Covid-19’s possible impact on Europe’s long-term demographic outlooks. Nevertheless, it is clear that any future policy response will have to take into account demographic factors and draw lessons from the Covid-19 crisis. In this spirit, the Commission’s Recovery Plan adopted on 27 May 2020 explicitly calls for solidarity between generations and highlights the need to support vulnerable groups as part of a fair and inclusive recovery.|
2. The report on the Impact of Demographic Change was adopted on 17 June 2020(1). As confirmed in the adjusted Commission Work Programme for 2020(2), it will provide the basis for a series of initiatives on demography, including the Green Paper on Ageing and the Long-term Vision for Rural Areas, which are both planned for 2021.
|(1) COM(2020) 241 final, 17.6.2020.|
(2) COM(2020) 440 final, 27.5.2020.
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).