Manifesto of senior citizens in Germany for the 2019 EP elections

Alongside a powerful appeal to vote in May’s EU elections, German AGE member BAGSO has published its own manifesto for the European elections.

In the manifesto, Germany’s senior citizens call for a ‘YES for Europe’ and calls on all voters to take part in the 2019 elections, which are about the shaping of the future of Europe. BAGSO highlights that while many of the EU’s performances are criticised and silenced, it has created decades-long peace between nations that were former enemies. Only together can the economic, ecological and social challenges be overcome. The following demands are put forward by BAGSO:

  1. We say YES to Europe: we have it in our hands whether Europe can develop its potential
  2. We say YES to a Europe for all generations: the future of all, including of older people, depends on the well-being of the coming generations. We want to build the future of Europe with the coming generations and call upon them to participate and decide on their future.
  3. We say YES to a Europe of long lives: While Europe and Germany experience longer lives, this is connected to challenges linked to social security, care, guaranteeing participation
  4. We say YES to a Europe of equality between women and men. This is not a reality everywhere; a crucial condition is equal pay for equal work, including in old-age income. Women and men should be equally represented in all institutions.
  5. We say YES to a Europe of guaranteed human rights: The protection of the rights of older persons has significant gaps, also in Europe. We are calling to strengthen the rights of older persons and to eliminate age discrimination. This concerns protection from violence, support for care needs, social security, life-long learning and inclusive labnour markets, self-determination, accessibility and mobility; this also concerns the right to asylum as a universal human right, as many of us have experienced forced displacement.
  6. We say YES to a Europe of participation and common ownership. Participation should be enabled for all, through collaboration of all generations. This includes taking part in the elections in the May 2019 elections, by voting for democratic representatives.
  7. We say YES to a Europe of diversity and tolerance. Our history has shown a disrupted and warring Europe, threatened by violence. This must not be repeated, there is sufficient space and prosperity to give everyone equal chances and a safe home. We speak out against racism, anit-semitism and other forms of exclusion.
  8. We say YES to good neighbourhood and peace. Europe is unique in its peaceful living-together of so many cultures. Europe is a champion of respectful living-together and dialogue on equal terms. Such a policy is needed more than ever on the global scene.
  9. We say YES to a sustainable Europe. Over 500 million people form the strongest economic area of the world, creating many freedoms and conditions for a good life in old-age. Working together on ecological, economic and social challenges is all the more urgent. The Sustainable Development Goals 2030 are a great promise of the United Nations to the world, to make it more human, and Europe has responsibility for this.
  10. We say YES to Germany in Europe. Germany was a geographic buffer zone before 1989. Since the German Reunification and the accession of central and eastern European countries, Germany is at the heart of Europe. We have gained our sovereignty, but achieved also responsibility for the future of Europe. Contributing to a reliable Europe also benefits Germany.

Click here to read the full manifesto of BAGSO (in German)

BAGSO has also co-signed a joint statement with the German Federal Youth Ring, the official representation of Youth in Germany.

Voices of older Germans: vote for Europe in the EU elections

German AGE member BAGSO, the federal working group of senior citizen’s organisations, has called on all voters to decide on the future of Europe. BAGSO published video statements from different older persons, and its own election manifesto.

Franz Müntefering, BAGSO president

Franz Müntefering, BAGSO president and former federal minister declared: ‘Europe is the story of our lives, of my generation. We have seen that Europe could care for peace, well-being and solidarity in many aspects, and this should continue to be the case. Our children can have a good future if we strengthen a democratic Europe. My call is to go and vote on 26 May, for a strong majority of democratic parties. Do not let narrow-minded nationalism and injustice win.’

Representatives of BAGSO on their vision of Europe

BAGSO also made older people speak for their own vision of Europe: ’75 years of peace in Europe, this has never been seen before’ / ‘I have witnessed the war’ / ‘I lived in ruins, my father never returned from war’ / ‘Germany was still in conflict with all neighbours by then’ / ‘It is a miracle how well we live together nowadays’ / ‘We have fought for Europe to be a big house for all’ / ‘We have witnessed borders.’ / ‘We do not want to see borders any longer’.

View the full video statements and BAGSO’s electoral manifesto here.

AGE presents European Parliament Manifesto in Barcelona

Marking the International Day of Older Persons, AGE Platform Europe in collaboration with the European Parliament Office and the Representation of the European Commission in Barcelona organised on 5th October 2018 the seminar “Achieving Equal Rights and Dignity for Older Persons”. The event gathered several of the local decision-makers who work in the field of ageing from Barcelona and Catalonia as well as representatives of older persons and wider civil society.

This event was an opportunity for AGE to present the manifesto that we have prepared for the European elections in close consultation with our members.

A useful tool for EU, national and local policy-makers

The seminar was opened by the director of the Office of the European Parliament in Barcelona, ​​Sergi Barrera and Mark Jeffery, the head of the European Commission’s Representation in Barcelona. They both reaffirmed the interest of European Union’s bodies to promote policies that ensure the well-being and the quality of life of older persons.

Verònica Lope, member of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs of the European Parliament, referred to several urgent issues faced by older people in Spain and across the EU, including in terms of adequate pensions and the challenges faced by older people living in rural areas. At the end of her presentation Ms. Lope supported the AGE manifesto, which she considered a very good basis for action at European level, while also underlining that measures at national and local level are needed to address demographic ageing and guarantee the dignity of older people.

The panel at the Barcelona event

Nena Georgantzi, Policy Coordinator on Human Rights and Non-Discrimination of AGE Platform Europe, presented the main objectives of the manifesto emphasizing among other issues the need to fight ageism and the double discrimination faced by older women due to age and gender. She also made recommendations about how to better protect the rights of older people at EU level.

Neus Pociello, director of the Aroa Foundation and responsible for International Affairs for AGE member FOCAGG, explained that the AGE manifesto is a valuable tool not only for Member of the European Parliament (MEPs) but also for all those involved in national and local politics. She also highlighted that the process of producing the document with direct involvement of older people is very important as it reflects the genuine voice and needs of citizens. Moreover she added that the manifesto can act as an information and empowerment tool for older people to monitor action taken and hold accountable their elected representatives. Finally, she called for the need to engage several actors of civil society in order to pursue the objectives of the manifesto.

The event finished with a round of interventions from local actors, namely Ms. Laia Ortiz, Deputy Mayor of the Barcelona City Council, who stressed the influence of the European agenda on the local agenda and Mr. David Agustí, responsible for Ageing policies in the Catalan government, who explained the participatory process they have developed through the establishment of the Council of Older People of Catalonia. Finally, representatives of local non profit organisations (NGOs), including AGE members FATEC and FOCAGG, took the floor raising specific issues faced by older people at local level.

On the occasion of the presentation of the AGE manifesto in Barcelona, Nena Georgantzi also gave a radio interview, which is available here (in Spanish).

More information about the event can be found here (in catalan).