Brussels, 17 October 2012
International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2012
With the persisting social crisis older people’s well-being and dignity are at stake!
National strategies to exit the crisis have been so far overwhelmingly driven by public finance austerity measures, often to the detriment of their social objectives. However, AGE believes that discipline in public finances, economic growth and adequate social protection systems are not contradictory, but mutually reinforcing objectives – all necessary to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth as announced in the Europe 2020 strategy.
On the 17th of October 2012, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, “AGE members urge national and EU policy makers to enhance solidarity between all age groups and genders in view of developing fairer and more sustainable responses to the economic and social challenges the EU is facing today”, said Anne-Sophie Parent, Secretary General of AGE Platform Europe. As the EU has a key role in supporting Member States and local/regional authorities in their efforts to address population ageing, AGE calls on the European Commission to launch a European Covenant on Demographic Change as part of the upcoming Social Investment Pact.
Over the last four years, millions of Europeans aged 50 years and over have been increasingly affected by the financial and economic crisis. Whether getting fired and struggling to find a new job; losing their life-time savings that vanished in financial and real estate markets; paying more for basic goods and vital services; or simply dropping out of social or cultural participation, a growing number of older people do experience the impact of austerity measures in their everyday life.
The crisis harms older people not only in financial terms or in their difficulties in accessing health or social services. “Many older people confronted unexpectedly with new forms of vulnerability, can react frequent by deep apathy or distress, withdrawing gradually from family life and social activities” stressed Anne-Sophie Parent. Due to the crisis many older people, as other vulnerable groups, withdraw from active participation in society and show symptoms of an increased disinterest in life resulting in further isolation from the mainstream society or their communities. “It is therefore their well-being and dignity that are at stake!” added Anne-Sophie Parent.