AGE presents European Parliament Manifesto in Barcelona

Marking the International Day of Older Persons, AGE Platform Europe in collaboration with the European Parliament Office and the Representation of the European Commission in Barcelona organised on 5th October 2018 the seminar “Achieving Equal Rights and Dignity for Older Persons”. The event gathered several of the local decision-makers who work in the field of ageing from Barcelona and Catalonia as well as representatives of older persons and wider civil society.

This event was an opportunity for AGE to present the manifesto that we have prepared for the European elections in close consultation with our members.

A useful tool for EU, national and local policy-makers

The seminar was opened by the director of the Office of the European Parliament in Barcelona, ​​Sergi Barrera and Mark Jeffery, the head of the European Commission’s Representation in Barcelona. They both reaffirmed the interest of European Union’s bodies to promote policies that ensure the well-being and the quality of life of older persons.

Verònica Lope, member of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs of the European Parliament, referred to several urgent issues faced by older people in Spain and across the EU, including in terms of adequate pensions and the challenges faced by older people living in rural areas. At the end of her presentation Ms. Lope supported the AGE manifesto, which she considered a very good basis for action at European level, while also underlining that measures at national and local level are needed to address demographic ageing and guarantee the dignity of older people.

The panel at the Barcelona event

Nena Georgantzi, Policy Coordinator on Human Rights and Non-Discrimination of AGE Platform Europe, presented the main objectives of the manifesto emphasizing among other issues the need to fight ageism and the double discrimination faced by older women due to age and gender. She also made recommendations about how to better protect the rights of older people at EU level.

Neus Pociello, director of the Aroa Foundation and responsible for International Affairs for AGE member FOCAGG, explained that the AGE manifesto is a valuable tool not only for Member of the European Parliament (MEPs) but also for all those involved in national and local politics. She also highlighted that the process of producing the document with direct involvement of older people is very important as it reflects the genuine voice and needs of citizens. Moreover she added that the manifesto can act as an information and empowerment tool for older people to monitor action taken and hold accountable their elected representatives. Finally, she called for the need to engage several actors of civil society in order to pursue the objectives of the manifesto.

The event finished with a round of interventions from local actors, namely Ms. Laia Ortiz, Deputy Mayor of the Barcelona City Council, who stressed the influence of the European agenda on the local agenda and Mr. David Agustí, responsible for Ageing policies in the Catalan government, who explained the participatory process they have developed through the establishment of the Council of Older People of Catalonia. Finally, representatives of local non profit organisations (NGOs), including AGE members FATEC and FOCAGG, took the floor raising specific issues faced by older people at local level.

On the occasion of the presentation of the AGE manifesto in Barcelona, Nena Georgantzi also gave a radio interview, which is available here (in Spanish).

More information about the event can be found here (in catalan).

Spain: Great support to AGE Manifesto in Catalonia

FATEC is a federation created 32 years ago, formed by volunteers, with the aim of promoting activities and actions for the promotion of the elderly in our society. FATEC represents around 345,000 of senior citizens in Catalonia, from senior centres, retirement homes, cultural centres, community centres and associations. There are more than 580 entities affiliated to FATEC. 

Rètol eleccions europees 2014FATEC has met several political parties to present AGE Manifesto and their priorities (see here).

We are welcoming Esquerra Republicana‘s support, which has integrated in its programme point 6 of AGE Manisfesto as to promote older citizens’ active participation in community and volunteer activities and to connect older citizens’ groups with their MEPs and other policy-makers, as well as point 2 on minimum income as a tool to fight against poverty among all age groups, especially children and older persons. Josep-Maria Terricabras, lead candidate for Esquerra Republicana has signed AGE Manifesto.

Moreover, we are happy to receive the support of Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds which commit to develop rights and resources to improve older persons’ living conditions. MEP candidate Ernest Urtasun has signed AGE Manifesto as well.

Last but not least, Francesc de Paula Gambús i Millet from the Convergència i Unió (CiU) party also supports AGE Manifesto.


Spain: FATEC presents its priorities for the European elections

fatec_weiss_01FATEC is a federation created 32 years ago, formed by volunteers, with the aim of promoting activities and actions for the promotion of the elderly in our society. FATEC represents around 345,000 of senior citizens in Catalonia, from senior centres, retirement homes, cultural centres, community centres and associations. There are more than 580 entities affiliated to FATEC.

We promote solutions and / or activities for the elderly, on the main issues that affect them as health, dependency, pensions, abuse, home security, loneliness, financial products, contacts with youth and middle age, etc., and promote the active life for them.

These are the proposals that we will present to all our MEP’s candidates during the following weeks:

  • End the current policy of cuts that impoverishes many older people. Stop the reduction of social, health and pharmacological benefits, pensions, dependency and everything that goes against life dignity of the elderly.
  • Neither the European Union nor any Member State may allow that poverty becomes structural, and fight it vigorously while the current austerity measures stay and grow. We demand efficient, continuous and verifiable actions to remove it.
  • Ask the different Member States improvements and deepest legal and judicial measures, more forceful and effective to end the abuse of older people.
  • Ask EU to stress the Spanish government to perform the necessary structural reforms to avoid the excessive macroeconomic imbalances, improve budgetary transparency in the context of institutional stability and better early retirement scheme.
  • To report that many of these situations are about to violate the human rights and the spirit of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights
  • Maintenance of the Wellbeing System for all EU countries and take measures for its sustainability.
  • Reinvigorate the economy and take steps towards the creation of wealth, strengthening the entrepreneurship, promote investment, forcing banks to give loans and to develop growing policies for the states.
  • More forceful measures applied to end fraud, tax evasion and underground economy, applying a tax on financial transactions.
  • Require to the different states and particularly to the Spanish government a progressive law tax, fairer, preventing advantages and deductions for businesses, big capital and financial products and becoming more social.
  • We demand energetic action by the European Union with respect to the deficit that it authorizes to Spain annually, demanding a fair distribution and control throughout the Communities and Local Government, as the current distribution is discriminatory and leads them into a lack of any room for economic manoeuvre in their budgets.
  • We propose a new European social and intergenerational pact, anticipating the significant increase in the number of elderly citizens, that establishes who and how contributes via taxation and who, when and what benefits receives in order to avoid, in the future, social and emotional gap between generations.
  • We would like to propose to the member states to adopt this agreement and adjust it to their own particularities.
  • Ability and need to take profit of the availability of retired people to meet social needs that many Public Administrations cannot attend, through a volunteer model, somehow encouraged and rewarded.
  • Guiding and helping any new countries members in the EU with lack of structures to cover social issues. Helping them to create federations of older people within the associations of civil society.
  • Actions empowering older people themselves, through their associations to manage their own issues directly. (Dr. Brauers document.)
  • Final and definitive impulse and investment to finish the construction of the Mediterranean TGV towards Europe.

You may read FATEC Manifesto here or access FATEC website here.