AGE Platform Europe, the European Public Service Union and the European Disability Forum, have called for a European investigation into the management of the COVID-19 pandemic in the long-term care sector. A wealth of evidence is emerging about the risk to which staff and beneficiaries of long-term care have been exposed to, given the lack of protective equipment, adequate working conditions and access to testing and treatment. The call was directed to European PArliament President David Sassoli, as the only directly representative European institution should be the one investigating abuses to EU Fundamental Rights on an EU scale.
The call was supported by a group of 88 MEPs accross the political spectrum:
“We, as Members of the European Parliament, believe that it is absolutely necessary to examine what happened at European level with all the means at our disposal, in order to have comprehensive data in front of us and to identify political and management responsibilities, so that we can change course immediately.
We are committed to ensuring that the European Parliament has the will and strength to discover and reconstruct what has happened, strengthen attention on these facilities, find alternatives of group housing and avoid other mistakes and tragedies.”
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?
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.