Slovene MEPs fully aware of demographic changes ahead!

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).

A new EU Vice-President Commissioner for Democracy and Demography

For the first time ever, a Vice-President in charge of Democracy and Demography has been designated by the European Commission President-elect. Dubravka Šuica, from Croatia, will lead the Commission’s work on ensuring that Europe understands and responds to one of its deepest lying challenges: demographic change. This nomination echoes AGE’s call for a dedicated Commissioner as part of a comprehensive EU Strategy on demographic change and solidarity between generations.

Particularly to be welcomed is the comprehensive approach described in VP Šuica’s mission letter, with a focus on the long-term impact of demographic ageing on care and pensions, as well as on the impact on the different groups in society and on the areas and regions that are the most affected. The mission letter outlines a number of key policy actions, in line with what AGE has been advocating for, such as the need to foster active ageing, improve work-life balance and develop a long-term vision for rural areas.

The nomination of dedicated EU Vice-President to coordinate EU work on demographic change echoes the letter sent by AGE in July to Dr. Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission.

In its letter to Dr. von der Leyen, AGE called for “an EU strategy on demographic change and solidarity between generations with a dedicated Commissioner’s portfolio to coordinate all EU related actions with an aim of ensuring equality, social justice and prosperity for younger and older generations”.

These nominations still need to be validated by the European Parliament after the hearings of all Vice-President and Commissioner-designates, and before the newly appointed European Commission can start on 1st November 2019.

Read AGE Press Release about Mrs. Šuica’s nomination

AGE joint webinar on EU rail accessibility legislation

On 18 January AGE and the European Disability Forum (EDF) organised a webinar (online conference) on the topic EU Rail Accessibility Legislation for Beginners: Explaining the TSI- PRM”.
The webinar – in which two experts from AGE took part: Peter Rayner (from the National Pensioners Convention, UK) and Frans Moltzer (NL) – sought to explain what the EU do to improve rail accessibility, why many trains are still not accessibile today and how the situation can be improved.

The webinar has been recorded. You can watch the video on Youtube here (with captions). 

The presentation and a summary of the questions and answers can also be downloaded from EDF website.