Earlier this year, we participated in the consultation launched by the European Commission along with its Green Paper on Ageing. Our expectations were high: we proposed a draft European Age Equality Strategy as one of the main initiatives to be included in a White Paper on Ageing. But to our great disappointment, we received confirmation that there would be no White Paper.
Reacting to the speech on the State of the Union last September 2021, we called on the President of the European Commission to make sure ageing issues are more systematically integrated in EU policies. So far, the promise of a ‘Union of Equality’ has barely addressed the issue of ageing.
The European Commission’s answer to our open letter makes clear that the European Commission does not intend to present a white paper on ageing nor a specific age equality strategy. We are clearly disappointed!
A white paper would pave the way for a change in the discourse and policy action on ageing, based on equality and human rights. We still believe that further action is needed to fight ageism with the same rigour as other forms of prejudice and to promote age equality across all EU initiatives.
Yet, we welcome the engagement of the European Commission in achieving a Union of equality, including through the mainstreaming of equality across EU policies, legislation and funding programmes. We will carefully monitor the follow-up of the EU commitment and ensure that older people are not left aside in the implementation of existing EU equality strategies and action plans. We will also work in close cooperation with the European Commission and EU Member States, and share our expertise on age equality with networks working on other discrimination grounds.
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