Always consider people’s dignity when defining minimum income in old age

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Launch of EMIN/AGE publication: ‘What should an adequate old-age income entail
to live in dignity?’,
Brussels, 7th January 2015

Concluding a two-year study on the adequacy of old-age minimum income in France, Ireland and Poland – as part of the European Minimum Income Network (EMIN) project – AGE Platform Europe calls on national decision makers to develop reference budgets when defining the level of minimum income necessary to live and age in dignity. Those reference budgets should be calculated for specific age and population sub-groups, and in the case of the population 65+, broken down by gender and by cohorts 65-75, 75-85 and over 85 years old.

Defining a minimum adequate income for all across the European Union, which enables to access essential goods and services, is a prerequisite to guarantee the right to live and age in dignity. This was the objective of the EMIN project aimed to identify people’s basic needs for a dignified life according to national realities. As a partner in this project, AGE Platform Europe looked at the specific situation of older people in Europe.

“Even though the goal of our research was neither to develop nor monetise reference budgets, the older people we interviewed helped us define what an adequate old-age minimum income should entail in their national context”, said Anne-Sophie Parent, Secretary General of AGE Platform Europe. The study highlights similarities in the needs of older persons and the essential goods and services that are considered as necessary for the social inclusion and participation of older people in the three pilot countries. Yet, significant differences exist regarding the adequacy of old-age minimum incomes and the validity of the 60% poverty line in the respective national contexts. “This suggests a question about the relevance of measuring poverty with income-based tools only, such as the 60% threshold of the median income. When defining the level of minimum income, it is crucial to consider also non-monetary aspects, such as access to quality health and long-term care, decent housing, leisure and social activities, civic participation etc.”

The European Union has a particular responsibility with regard to the promotion of an adequate income across the life span, for example, by encouraging EU member states to focus on the specific needs of different age and population groups.

“We hope that the EMIN project has initiated a policy debate on income adequacy at every stage of life. The right to an adequate income in old age should be recognised as fundamental and necessary for everyone’s dignity and independence”, concluded Anne-Sophie Parent.


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For more details on AGE’s input to the project, you can contact

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