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.
For further information, please contact Philippe Seidel at the AGE Secretariat firstname.lastname@example.org. Wednesday 16 October 2019
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).
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.
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