AGE presents its manifesto to European People Party’s President

On 19 December 2018, AGE Secretary-General Anne-Sophie Parent was invited to meet the President of the European People’s Party (EPP), Mr Joseph Daul and the Deputy-Secretary-General of the party. She discussed AGE expectations regarding the EU action to combat age discrimination and ageism, foster older workers’ access to the labour market, allow older persons to combine work and pensions and promote access to quality health and long-term care. Most proposals were met with enthusiasm by the EPP President.

Need to fight age discrimination as a clear signal to citizens

Ms. Parent outlined the challenge of clearly explaining to voters, especially older voters, what they can expect from the European Union and these elections, and how the European Parliament can influence older people’s lives. A concrete measure for this would be to make the fight against age discrimination and other grounds of discrimination more visible in EU internal and external action.’

JosephDaul_EPP_2
EPP President, Mr Joseph Daul


Caring for older people and their place in our societies is an important concern for the EPP. We must make sure that all generations can fully participate in the labour market and that nobody is discriminated because of age. We need safe and equitable pensions – for today and for future generations. Everybody should be able to live in dignity and to participate fully in our societies.’

Mr Joseph Daul, President of the European People’s Party

Employment and retirement policies that support active ageing

As Ms. Parent explained, combating age discrimination is also key for changing the perception of ageing and allowing older people to work for longer if they so wish. The EPP President agreed that it is a nonsense to prohibit working after retirement, as many sectors are lacking skilled workforce and work realities have changed in some sectors, making work less strenuous.

Both agreed that the EU has a role to play here. Ms. Parent shared some examples where AGE’s policy work has been decisive: in access to supplementary pensions, AGE successfully lobbied for reducing the vesting periods that workers need to start acquiring pension rights, a measure that benefits many younger workers who have much shorter job tenures in today’s labour markets.
    

Gender equality and solidarity between generations

Discussions also covered the crucial role of solidarity between generations, a key principle for AGE, as older people are first and foremost interested in the well-being of their grandchildren. Transformations such as the growth of new types of employment, that leave many young people without access to pension, unemployment or health insurance rights are a big challenge to them.

Furthermore, Ms Parent stressed the questions of gender equality, pointing out the large pension gap between women and men remaining and some pension reforms going against the idea of gender equality, such as the reintroduction of different pension ages for women and men. Both agreed that survivor’s pensions are an important right safeguarding many older women from old-age poverty.
  

The EU’s role in health policies

On health policies, Mr. Daul and Ms. Parent exchanged on the evolution in the European medicines market. Europe is more and more dependent on imports for basic medication, which poses not only a challenge for European jobs, but also for security from shocks in world trade and challenges for the security of drugs itself. This is a key area where the EU could take action to avoid shortages.

Mr. Daul and Ms. Parent convened that they would like to collaborate further to encourage older citizens to make an informed vote in this year’s European Parliament’s elections.
  

For more information, please contact Philippe Seidel Leroy at the AGE Secretariat: philippe.seidel@age-platform.eu 

AGE elections toolkit: how to lead your national campaign

AGE Platform Europe has released the European Parliament Elections toolkit for senior citizens’ organisations. In the toolkit, the role and the power of the EP is explained, and proposals are made on how national campaigns could be led. Proposals are:

  • Stay informed about your national parties’ demands and actions
  • Set up your own manifesto
  • Write letters and emails to candidates
  • Organise public debates or hearings with different candidates
  • Join the institutional campaign: ‘This Time, I’m Voting’
  • Use social media to spread your messages and explain the importance of including them in the campaign
  • Join the elections campaigns of other EU networks

AGE members [should] encourage older citizens in their countries to take part in these elections, and ensure that candidates understand the challenges related to the ageing population and most of all the daily realities and needs of older people. As a civil society organisation defending the rights of older people in your country, […] seize that opportunity to raise awareness among the candidates of the issues that concern older people.

AGE EP Elections Toolkit

What Europe does for me? – European Parliament launches new website

While the European elections are getting closer, the European Parliament has launched a new multi-lingual interactive website to illustrate concretely what difference the EU is making in the lives of Europeans.

How does Europe affect our everyday lives? How does it impact our jobs, our families, our health care, our hobbies, our journeys, our security, our consumer choices and our social rights? And how is Europe present in our towns, cities and regions? The portal What Europe Does For Me provides answer to those questions through three different chapters:

  • In my region: this section lists the different initiatives supported by the EU in over 1 400 regions and cities across the European Union.
  • In my life: the section provides a snapshot of EU action for citizens, as individuals, through a series of short notes with concrete examples. Some of them may be of particular interest to older persons, such as: Seniors using e-health services, Pensioners, Vulnerable pedestrians, Patients in rural areas, Train passengers with disabilities or reduced mobility, People with Alzheimer’s, People with disabilities, Older workers, Payment card users, People suffering from loneliness, Informal carers, Vulnerable consumers, etc.
  • In focus: longer briefing papers on EU policies explore some EU achievements and the outlook for the future action in selected policy areas.

This website, which will be complemented with more material in more EU languages over the coming months, also reminds that “Europe, or ‘Brussels’, cannot decide things on its own or in a vacuum. And the EU can only act when a goal can be best achieved together than by individual countries acting independently.”

Access here the portal What Europe Does For You

Read more in the European Parliament’s press release