AGE joins call for an inclusive ‘Union of equality’

photo credit: EDF

On 16 March we took part in the conference “Towards a Union of Equality”, hosted by the European Disability Forum. The event brought together representatives of equality networks to discuss a common equality agenda for the next EU legislative term and send a joint call for a truly inclusive European Union.

The conference, included representatives from AGE Platform Europe, Equinet, the European Network Against Racism, the European Disability Forum (EDF) and ILGA Europe. Our colleague, Nena Georgantzi, AGE Human Rights Manager, was among the panellists who explored current challenges and how to tackle them in the future.

Nena regretted the lack of specific initiatives taken by the European Commission to improve the record on age discrimination. She furthermore insisted on the need for an EU strategy on age equality that would allow strong action against age discrimination, including by expanding the legal protection outside the field of employment. AGE Human Rights Manager also called for better training, exchanges and peer learning between services at the European Commission.

“EU’s equality framework is running at different speeds. We still lack a strategy on age equality, just like we have for other grounds. This does not only adversely impact victims of age discrimination but also more generally the effectiveness of existing strategies to achieve a Union of Equality for all and at all ages”.    

Answering questions from the audience, panellists also raised the following points:

  • Need for stronger cooperation and intersectional perspectives within the human rights movement.
  • Need to promote resources from human rights organisations between them and their members.
  • Need to identify and replicate good practices.

“Equality doesn’t exist in a vacuum; we don’t thrive when not everyone is thriving”, concluded Catherine Naughton, Executive Director at EDF, when reporting on the panel’s conclusions.

The event was followed by the launch of a Joint Statement on “Building an inclusive European Union of Equality”, in which 9 organisations – including AGE Platform Europe – call on the European Union’s leaders and European Institutions to ensure equality and fundamental rights are a priority during the next legislative mandate.

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