Discussion on demographic change and solidarity between generations should not be postponed – call by 11 MEPs from 5 groups

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).

Read the written question in English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portugese, Croatian or Slovenian

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.

‘MEPs, give a voice to solidarity between generations’ – joint call by AGE and COFACE

This week, the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) can sign up to cross-party ‘intergroups’. AGE Platform Europe and the European network of family organisations COFACE-Families Europe have sent a common letter to MEPs to call for an intergroup on demographic change and solidarity between generations. Given demographic change affects everyone, the Parliament should encourage a large debate on sustainable solutions that fit the needs and expectations of all current and future generations.

An intergroup is an informal group of members of the European Parliament of different political groups and committees, which can encourage a large debate about cross-cutting issues. AGE and COFACE feel that demographic change, because of its impact on citizens, is a topic that needs to be addressed. Also, by nominating a Commission Vice-President-designate for Demographic Change, Ms Dubravka Suica, the President-elect of the European Commission has started this cross-cutting debate, and Parliament should be ready for this.

By putting forward a common call, AGE and COFACE underline that both family forms and ageing experiences are increasingly diverse. This is why debate on public policies on how to adequately address the needs of all generations in a spirit of solidarity are needed.

Citizen-centred and family-friendly policies needed

AGE and COFACE call for policies to promote citizen-centred and family-friendly labour markets, social protection systems, transport and housing, education and culture, consumer goods and financial services, urban planning and inclusive neighbourhoods. They underline that we need support for active citizenship and well-being across the whole life span, help to reconcile our work and family life, facilitate personal and professional fulfilment of young and old, enhance economic growth in our rural and urban areas and, eventually, strengthen social justice and cohesion.

What should MEPs do?

The intergroup on demographic change and solidarity between generations would be a continuation of previous intergroups on older persons, active ageing and solidarity between generations that have existed since 1982 in various forms.

Members of the European Parliament can support the establishment of an intergroup on demographic change and solidarity between generations by signing this form and sending it until 18 October 2019 to the office of Mr Brando Benfiei (15G210), and advocate within their political group for support for this intergroup.

More information:

For further information, please contact Philippe Seidel at the AGE Secretariat philippe.seidel@age-platform.eu. Wednesday 16 October 2019

Please commit to a Europe for all ages! AGE members urge Commission President candidate

Non-discrimination, civil dialogue, sustainable future and intergenerational cooperation are critical priorities that the future European Commission really needs to focus on! Older people’s organisations across Europe urge Commission President candidate.

Read our open letter

Continue reading “Please commit to a Europe for all ages! AGE members urge Commission President candidate”