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.

Commission’s InvestEU proposal – Joint letter from the social sector

Investing in quality, innovative and sustainable social infrastructure – Joint letter from the social sector on the European Commission’s InvestEU proposal

In view of influencing the objectives of post 2020 EU investments, AGE Platform Europe together with other actors representing the social services, health, education and social housing sectors addressed to the European Commission a letter calling to unlock investment into innovative, sustainable and quality social infrastructure projects. The call responds to the European Commission’s proposal from last June to launch a new fund, called InvestEU, for the period 2021-2027 (read the Commission’s press release here).  The fund aims at mobilising €650 billion to finance sustainable infrastructure and is the continuation of the Juncker Plan’s European Fund for Strategic Investments.

While welcoming the general orientation of the InvestEU fund, the cosignatories of the letter pledge for additional changes for the fund in order to enable lasting innovation in the social, health, education and housing and ageing sectors in line with the European Pillar of Social Rights, the Sustainable Development Goals and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

We urged in particular the European Commission to ensure that the money which public authorities will spend across the EU addresses the needs of the people they serve. This should help both to increase public satisfaction and reduce costs. Considering the growing needs for quality infrastructure in the fields of social care and support, social housing, health or education, it is only through consistent public investment that Europe can guarantee the affordability, availability, adaptability, accessibility and quality of services for its citizens including older persons.  Moreover it will be also important to explore and identify new ways to spread out the risk of such public investment through other long-term investment mechanisms; yet without undermining the aforementioned requirements.

For more details please see the full version of the letter or contact Maciej Kucharczyk, maciej.kucharczyk@age-platform.eu

Work-life balance, women in poverty and gender pension gap: gender equality on the agenda of European Parliament and Council

While the Parliament has put emphasis on the fight against poverty of women in a recent report, the Council of ministers of social affairs has also supported action to fight poverty of women in conclusions negotiated under the Slovakian presidency. The Council calls for the implementation of the Commission’s roadmap on work-life balance, the proposed European pillar of social rights, and to include two new indicators on the at-risk-of poverty rate of migrant women and of inactive women, including by age groups. The Parliament went further and supports the call for recognising care periods through care leave arrangements, employee-driven flexible working time, care credits in pension schemes and supporting services. AGE welcomes many of the points taken up by the Parliament and the Council, but considers that some points are missing. Continue reading “Work-life balance, women in poverty and gender pension gap: gender equality on the agenda of European Parliament and Council”