European Commission Work Programme 2015: focus on employment and economic growth

In December 2014, the new European Commission presented its work programme for 2015. Its main focus will remain on jobs creation and economic growth through boosting the digital economy, strengthening the internal market, addressing migration and on developing a European Energy Union.

Despite the announcement of important measures in the areas of employment (safety and health at work, part-time work and fixed term work), equal treatment in social security, human rights (EU Accession to the European Convention on Human Rights) and senior tourism, no direct reference is made to ageing, demographic change, pension reforms, sustainability and quality of long-term care or poverty and social inclusion.

AGE’s challenge in 2015 will therefore be to further raise awareness about social realities of older people. Europe’s changing demographics combined with the persisting weakness of economic growth and consequent pressure on public budgets are all increasing the risk of human rights violations against older persons. Several EU Governments are paying less attention to the fulfilment of the rights older people hold as human beings and are instead pursuing purely economic objectives. In addition many EU Member States fail to grasp the urgency of tackling demographic change in a holistic way and investing in initiatives that support active and healthy ageing to lower the pressure of demographic change on the public purse.

AGE will closely follow the Juncker team’s commitment to mainstream fundamental rights in all EU actions and to unblock the EU anti-discrimination directive banning age discrimination in other areas than employment. We will also continue to influence the EU policy agenda to reflect on various socio-economic challenges faced by older people, in particular through promoting age-friendly solutions and ensuring equality when implementing the Europe 2020 strategy and meeting its targets.

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