Work-life balance, women in poverty and gender pension gap: gender equality on the agenda of European Parliament and Council

While the Parliament has put emphasis on the fight against poverty of women in a recent report, the Council of ministers of social affairs has also supported action to fight poverty of women in conclusions negotiated under the Slovakian presidency. The Council calls for the implementation of the Commission’s roadmap on work-life balance, the proposed European pillar of social rights, and to include two new indicators on the at-risk-of poverty rate of migrant women and of inactive women, including by age groups. The Parliament went further and supports the call for recognising care periods through care leave arrangements, employee-driven flexible working time, care credits in pension schemes and supporting services. AGE welcomes many of the points taken up by the Parliament and the Council, but considers that some points are missing. Continue Reading

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Register to the event ‘Active Senior Citizens for an Age-Friendly EU’

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AGE Platform Europe, the Active Senior Citizens for Europe project and MEP Eduard Kukan

are glad to invite you to a conference on

‘Active Senior Citizens for an Age-Friendly EU’

Although older citizens usually have a positive attitude toward the European Union, few are fully aware of what the EU is doing to translate our shared values into concrete outcomes for EU citizens, what the EU competences are and how EU policies impact their daily life. Even fewer know how to engage in a constructive dialogue with the EU institutions to help shape the European political agenda. The current crisis and language barriers create additional challenges for seniors in those countries to become fully involved in EU civil dialogue.

This event aims at building on the mobilization around the European elections and the nomination of a new college of Commissioners to give directly a voice to active senior citizens, so they can share their views with recently elected MEPs. The debate will aim to highlight the fundamental cooperation between MEPs and their constituencies that is needed to achieve together an age-friendly European Union. The event will also present the outcomes of the EU-funded project ‘Active Senior Citizens for Europe’ supported by the Europe for citizens programme.

The conference will take place on 8 December 2014 from 16:00 to 18:00 at the European Parliament in Brussels (room ASP  6Q1). It will be followed by a cocktail from 18.00 to 19:00. You will find more information in the conference programme here.

Please register by 30th November here.

For more information please consult AGE Platform Europe website here or contact Maude Luherne at maude.luherne@age-platform.eu.

Elections européennes: Pourquoi aller voter le 25 mai?

Few weeks before the elections, the Representation of the European Commission in France, the European Parliament, the French Governments, local authorities’ associations and civil society organisations joined forces to publish a brochure explaining why it is important to go to vote on the 25th of May.

Pourquoi aller voter le 25 maiEn vue des élections européennes de 2014, la Représentation de la Commission européenne en France, le Parlement européen, les pouvoirs publics français et des associations d’élus territoriaux se sont regroupés avec la société civile, dont l’Alliance pour l’Année européenne des citoyens 2013 (EYCA), pour publier une brochure commune afin de rappeler l’importance d’aller voter le 25 mai.

Alors que les citoyens européens méconnaissent bien souvent l’impact des politiques européennes sur leur vie quotidienne, cette brochure a pour objectif d’expliquer le rôle des différentes institutions européennes, de présenter la composition actuelle du Parlement européen et de rappeler les principaux enjeux du vote:

  • Parce que le Parlement européen est la seule institution de l’Union européenne à être directement élue par les citoyens
  • Parce que le Parlement européen vote des législations ayant un impact sur mon quotidien
  • Parce que je choisis un projet politique pour l’Europe
  • Parce que mon vote contribuera à désigner le prochain président de la Commission européenne

Le brochure est disponible ici.

 

European Parliament President Martin Schulz pledges support for EYCA recommendations and civil dialogue in Europe

EYCARepresentatives of the European Year of Citizens Alliance (EYCA) Steering Committee met with the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, on 3rd April 2014 in Brussels to discuss the EYCA recommendations aimed at enhancing European citizenship.

We raised a particular warning about the profound social and economic distress, but also the political distrust Europe is facing today. Deploring the institutional appetite for direct dialogue with “THE” citizen, we called for the recognition of associations and NGOs in their capacity of gathering together millions of citizens across Europe and for their involvement on equal footing with trade-unions and businesses in the policy dialogue and democratic processes.

Convinced that “Europe can no longer survive without a social pillar”, President Schulz pointed out the real risk of Europe’s failure, as highlighted by the lead in opinion polls from Eurosceptic and regressive forces, even in some founding Member States.

Aware that civil society organisations can be “valuable allies” for the institutions in working to bring about more solidarity, equality and democracy in Europe, and paying due attention to the EYCA recommendations, Mr. Schulz undertook to “seriously consider the issue and leave a strong legacy for his successor to integrate civil society organisations in a dialogue process with the European Parliament”.

This position goes totally in line with article 11 from the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which underlines the need for “institutions to maintain an open, transparent and regular dialogue with representative associations and civil society”. We can therefore only welcome President Schulz’ will to make civil dialogue a reality and hope that this discussion will bear fruits and continue to work towards a more transparent and democratic Europe.

AGE Platform Europe is member of the EYCA and supports the EYCA recommendations. Read more about the EYCA here.

European elections 2014: Civil society and candidate MEPs commit to a Citizens’ Europe

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Civil Society Day, 18th March 2014

European elections 2014: Civil society and candidate MEPs commit to a Citizens’ Europe

Joining forces to mobilise EU citizens for the upcoming European elections 2014

 

European Parliament elections are the periodical momentum to test both politicians’ and citizens’ engagement and capacity to debate on how best shape our societies and improve European integration for the benefit of all. In the light of the democratic crisis and growing mistrust towards the European Union, it is of utmost importance to mobilise EU citizens to go to vote in May, said panellists from AGE, COFACE, ILGA Europe, EWL, ENAR, EDF, EAPN, AEGEE and Eurochild during a joint event on 18 March at the European Parliament hosted by Claude Moraes (MEP, S&D, UK).

Civil society organisations have a crucial role to play to both voice citizens’ needs in policy developments and to fight against populism and misrepresentations about the EU. However, this can only work if MEP candidates run honest campaigns and take the time to inform the general public about EU competences and what the European Parliament effectively does”, said MEP Claude Moraes in his opening speech.

We want to make sure that citizens get the right information, vote on actual facts”, said Anne-Sophie Parent, AGE Secretary General. “We also want future MEPs to commit to meet annually with civil society organisations to report back on their activities and listen to grassroots citizens’ needs and expectations”, she continued.

COFACE’s new #FamiliesVOTE2014 publication aims to bring concrete information to the attention of European citizens and boost voters’ knowledge and understanding on what the EP can and will do for families’ wellbeing over the next 5 years. “European citizens and families must make an informed and responsible decision when they cast their vote” said Annemie Drieskens, COFACE President. 

With Y Vote 2014, we are engaging citizens, and especially young students, by raising their awareness about the EU, involving them in drafting recommendatiosn directed to MEPs, and last but not least, empowering them to become multipliers towards other citizens“, said Lucille Rieux from AEGEE, “we need to show them that decision-makers do care for them and do address their needs; This is why we need MEPs to not only give young people’s importance in their speeches, but above all, to act accordingly“.

ILGA-Europe and its member organisations are working hard on their Come Out Campaign to strengthen the human rights agenda of the next EP and Commission, thanks to increased voters’ mobilisation and to concrete commitments by candidates and political parties. “We are also proud to be working with ENAR on our jointcampaign #NoHateEP2014 and promote an EU equality agenda that is common to all communities, including sexual minorities and ethnic minorities”, added Joël Le Déroff from ILGA Europe. ENAR is also promoting 7 key demands for more equality in Europe to future MEPs in the frame of the “I vote for diversity” campaign.

EWL Manifesto “Act now for her future, commit to gender equality” demands a strong Europe promoting women’s and girls’ rights and gender equality. “We encourage our members to send the Manifesto to their MEPs and candidates for the European elections, to use it to launch debates on equality between women and men in Europe”, said Pierrette Pape from EWL.

Champion the rights of children is also the purpose of the Child Rights Manifesto, written by Eurochild and 13 other international and European child rights organisations: “we count on working with MEPs, our members, the voters, as well as children towards that goal.” said Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General of Eurochild.

EDF also urges candidates, political parties and the appropriate authorities in the EU Members States to make sure that the European elections are accessible to persons with disabilities by removing the still existing discriminatory obstacles and restrictions to persons with disabilities’ right to vote and to stand as candidates and by ensuring that all campaign information is accessible. “This is a prerequisite to ensure that most of the 80 million European citizens with disabilities are interested in the elections and go cast their ballot”, stated Etienne Cuche from the European Disability Forum (EDF).

EAPN welcomes the opportunity of bringing together civil society organisations which are engaged in the European Elections. The meeting today showed the diversity, commitment and strength of the civil society sector whose campaigns will no doubt have an impact on the outcome of the European elections. As EAPN we are calling on candidates to become the champions for a social Europe free of poverty,” concluded Barbara Helfferich, Director of the European Anti-Poverty Network.

 

Read more about our campaigns:

AGE Platform Europe – Towards an Age-Friendly European Parliament

COFACE – #FamiliesVOTE2014

European Anti-Poverty Network – Electing Champions for a social Europe

European Disability Forum – “Accessible European elections, Inclusive European Societies”

European Network Against Racism (ENAR) – Vote for Diversity 

European Women’s Lobby – Act now for her future, commit to gender equality 

ILGA Europe – Come Out Campaign 

ILGA Europe / ENAR – #NoHateEP2014

AEGEE – Y Vote 2014

Eurochild – Child Rights Champions 

 

Link to this press release in pdf format

Enéo: Comment agir à travers les élections européennes de 2014?

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In the frame of the Active Senior Citizens for Europe, Enéo, Belgian organisation representing and working with 40.000 members, is running trainings at local and regional levels on the European Union. You may read the first Eneo training here.

L’Europe… devient la « tête de Turc » par :

-sa complexité institutionnelle (éloignement par rapport aux citoyens)
-son austérité budgétaire
-son manque d’ambition sociale
-la montée d’euroscepticisme
-le désintérêt des citoyens par rapport aux enjeux socioéconomiques et européens

La méconnaissance des actions (ou inactions) menées par l’UE ne fait que renforcer la méfiance, voire l’indifférence …

Afin de répondre à ces défis, Enéo propose une formation autour des axes suivants:

1. le système européen (cadre juridique et instruments décisionnels, compétences de l’UE, les institutions européennes, le processus de décision et influence des citoyens)
2.Le dialogue civil et social
3.L’importance des budgets et de la vision institutionnelle
4.L’impact de la crise sur les politiques sociales
5.Les élections et nos revendications

 
Pour lire la présentation d’Enéo, cliquez ici.

 

 

Bulgaria: First series of trainings on the European Union

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In the frame of Active Senior Citizens for Europe project,  AGE Bulgarian members organised on 24 February a training for older people’s organisations and senior volunteers on the European Union. Various organisations from Sofia, Dryanovo, Ruse and Plovdiv participated in the initiative.

IMG_0085_BulgariaMaria Petkova, director of Tulip Foundation, presented information about the functioning of the European Union and the impact of the European policies on the lives of senior citizens. Finally, Maria Petkova explained how older people can influence the EU policies. Thanks to the work of the Tulip Foundation and the Bulgarian Red Cross, AGE guide to the EU institutions was translated in Bulgarian and distributed among the participants of the training.

For more information, visit the Tulip Foundation website: http://www.tulipfoundation.net/