AGE is partner of a joint NGO social media campaign organised by the European Youth Forum and the Social Platform ahead of the European Social Summit in Göteborg (Sweden) on 17 November. The objective is to voice NGOs’ concerns and expectations to advance social rights in Europe and reiterate our call for the adoption of a strong binding European Pillar of Social Rights that has a real impact on citizens’ everyday life and the protection of their rights.
The European Pillar of Social Rights, proposed by the European Commission in April this year, sets out important principles in the domains of access to the labour market, rights in employment and rights to social protection. In many ways, it can build the momentum for EU action in the social field. Especially important to older people are the rights to long-term care and to life-long learning, but also rights concerning non-discrimination, adequate pensions and minimum incomes, health and safety at work, the right to health or the right to essential services. The Pillar of Social Rights should be adopted as a proclamation by the EU Commission, Council and Parliament, and the Social Summit in Göteborg is a key moment to this. It seems that current discussions focus on the weakening of the legal and budgetary implications of the Pillar of Social Rights. AGE and partner NGOs therefore call for the proclamation to be strong and binding, so that the momentum for triggering stronger and more adequate EU social policies is not lost.
The campaign will be running for one month, from 17 October to 17 November (mainly on Twitter), and will be split following the three main topics of the European Pillar:
- Equal opportunities (namely through work-life balance, anti-discrimination, education)
- Fair working conditions and minimum wages
- Social protection and inclusion (minimum income, access to services, financing of services, social investment)
This will be an opportunity for AGE to recall our key messages in favour of an age-friendly European Union that fights poverty and inequality and supports independent, active and healthy ageing for all.
Indeed, most of the issues proposed are of interest to older people, in particular:
- Equal treatment: age discrimination and ageist attitudes are still widespread in employment (although prohibited) as in all areas of society. They hinder people’s participation and contribution in old age, which is yet increasingly acknowledged as crucial for the sustainability of our ageing societies. Fighting age discrimination is both an economic and social issue.
- Work-life balance and fair working conditions: concrete and appropriate measures are essential if we want to promote longer working life and support informal carers who are looking after dependent relatives. Action in that field is all the more needed that the number of dependent persons is likely to increase along with the ageing of the population and the shrinking budget for social protection.
- Long-term care, health care and adequate housing: ensuring access to quality, affordable care services and housing are crucial to make sure people can age in dignity. The pillar introduces a much needed right to long-term care, whose implementation requires adequate monitoring.
You can also help us raise awareness of what must be changed to achieve a truly #SocialEurope. Follow #SocialSummit17 (on Facebook and Twitter) and make your voice heard.