More intergenerational dialogue and participation are still needed

Brussels, 25 April 2018

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EU Day of Solidarity between Generations, 29 April 2018


Ten years ago the Slovenian Council Presidency proposed to declare the 29 April European Day of Solidarity between Generations. The proposal was based on a suggestion by the AGE Platform and the European Youth Forum. The first EU Day was officially launched on 29 April 2009. In a few weeks, the European Commission will publish the 2018 Ageing Report and 2018 Pension Adequacy Report. Both reports highlight the difficult choices that still lie ahead of our societies to ensure intergenerational fairness.

In a time when European leaders are rethinking the future of Europe, we need to involve all generations in the democratic debate and policymaking and promote age diversity in all areas of society. Involvement, participation and interactions are essential prerequisites to build truly age-friendly societies.

‘It is extremely important to celebrate solidarity between generations, upon which European societies are based. ’, said Anne-Sophie Parent, Secretary General of AGE Platform Europe. ‘Older people have contributed to social protection systems throughout their lives and continue to make huge contributions to their communities. Their role in society should be recognised, and we must do more to prevent old-age poverty and social exclusion, and to tackle the gender pension gap. At the same time, today’s generation of young people faces many challenges, from job precariousness and difficult access to social protection to difficulties reconciling work with private life. Today European society needs increased investment in training and education, better child and long-term care services as well as political will to update social protection systems that don’t penalise young people. To strike this balance, we need to create structures where generations can talk to each other and understand each other’s challenges and find solutions that are fair to all.’ Anne-Sophie Parent spoke on an event organised by AGE member the European Seniors’ Union (ESU) and the Office of International IDEA to the European Union on ‘Involving Generations in Dialogue for Democracy’ on 24 April 2018.

“Young people’s path towards independence and autonomy has become increasingly hard. Many young people find it difficult to plan for their future. This is caused by insecurity in the labour market, longer school-to-work transitions and welfare systems not compatible with the reality of today’s youth. If we don’t do better, we risk increasing inequalities in European societies and among generations.” says Anna Widegren, Secretary General of the European Youth Forum. “A more social and sustainable Europe is one where welfare systems are based on intergenerational solidarity; more resources are invested in better care systems to ensure work-life balance and prepare for demographic changes. In other words, a more Social Europe must ensure that the elderly as much as the young can have confidence in their present and in their future.”

On 21 June 2018, AGE and the European Youth Forum are supporting a meeting of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations on the 2018 Ageing Report and intergenerational fairness.

“The ‘Silver Economy’, Europe’s foreland, can only be a success with a strong role for our youngsters. Their contribution offers us a world of solidarity in the digital age, combining full participation and high quality care, up to the need of older Europeans,” said Lambert Van Nistelrooij, Co-Chair of the Intergroup Subgroup on Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations.

“Generational justice shall be the main goal of the European political concepts, whatever is regulated in EU‘s and national legislation must be evaluated on the impact of the younger and as well the elder generations – nothing shall harm our children and grand children.This includes on the top the securing of the social systems primarily by urgent execution of the necessary reforms in the EU member states as they have the leading responsibility on social affairs. Pensions, health insurance and care system must be adjusted to the demographic changes and guarantee the sufficient financial structures so that present and future generations can be sure of social stability in their lives”, said Heinz K. Becker, Co-chair of the Intergroup Subgroup on Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations.

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