AGE has published its analysis of the 2019 European Semester, the EU’s process for coordinating social and economic policies. The position covers contributions from AGE members from 8 member States on the necessary policy reforms to achieve an age-friendly Europe. In 2019, the ‘socialisation’ process of the Semester can be observed, as more social indicators are taken into account and the European Pillar of Social Rights is used as a guideline for policy recommendations. Yet, the Semester still delivers contradicting messages, calling both for more social investment and budgetary discipline at the same time in some member States. It remains a challenge for civil society organisations to be involved in the Semester.
The 2019 position on the Semester covers eight member States: Austria, Beligum, Cyprus, France, Malta, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. AGE analysed the impact of reform proposals in the field of the fight against poverty and social exclusion, territorial inequalities, adequate pensions and employment of older persons. A link was made with the results of the 2019 AGE Barometer, which mapped the situation of older persons in the EU regarding income, labour market and gender equality.
The main messages of the 2019 position are:
- The governance of the Semester Process is still a challenge for civil society organisations and it is difficult to involve them on national level
- Despite overall falling poverty and social exclusion, a rising trend can be observed for older persons. Special attention should also be put at persons who have not reached pension age, as they are particularly affected by poverty and social exclusion, as 23% of 55-64 face this risk. Furhter risk factors are very old age and being an older woman.
- Pensions are not adequate in many member states in the case where an older persons faces the need for care and assistance, which they often have to be finance out of their own pockets.
- Hidden discrimination against older workers in the labour market is still widespread and skills initiatives do not sufficiently reach older workers or jobseekers. The Semester does not pay attention to the development of sustainable workplaces that maintain employability throughout the life-cycle