Brussels, Belgium, 30 September 2019
On 1st October, the International Day of Older Persons, AGE Platform Europe revives its call for age equality as a critical milestone to achieve sustainable, truly democratic and peaceful societies. We can simply no longer afford a generational divide that prevents us from benefiting from all vital sparks of our countries, including the contributions of older citizens.
At a time where populism, climate change and rising inequalities are pitting citizens against one another, ageism further excludes individuals when they reach older age. This pervasive phenomenon feeds our policy debates with flawed arguments that there should be different policies for different age groups.
However, identifying a common project for all generations is possible. Research shows that different age groups largely agree on policy priorities that governments should address: fighting against poverty and unemployment, financing education and care, ensuring fair taxation and sustainable pension systems, acting for the environment.
“Older citizens are increasingly standing side-by-side with younger people to express their mutual concerns: it is time for policy makers to act following this collective impetus” points out Anne-Sophie Parent, Secretary General of AGE.
The requirement by President-elect Ursula von der Leyen that each Commissioner participates to the delivery of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals goes into the right direction. But a sustainable future for Europe will not happen without substantial efforts towards inclusiveness. In this context, the decision by the United Nations to focus on age equality and the SDG 11 for the International Day of Older Persons is very timely.
A fundamental change of mindset is highly necessary: instead of focusing on the negative aspects of ageing, laws and policies must recognize, promote and invite older persons to be active contributors to the solutions to the challenges of today’s Europe. Our ongoing #AgeingEqual campaign participates in this effort: we invite everyone in Europe to join our movement.