As the recent event in Porto highlighted, the EU Pillar of Social Rights has a tremendous potential to address the multiple-fold impact of an ageing Europe and create a more age-friendly society… provided we give ourselves the means to implement it.
On 28th April 2021, the event ‘On the Road to Porto – A solidarity Action Plan for all generations’ explored the potential of Action plan for the European Pillar of Social Rights, recently published by the European Commission, in facing the social and economic challenges raised by the demographic trends in the European Union.
The event was organised on the eve of the European Day of Solidarity between generations, in the framework of the EU funded project ETUCSociAll and in cooperation with the multi-stakeholder Alliance “Stand Up for the Social Pillar”.
Ageing: a cross-generational issue
“All generations are directly impacted by demographic ageing, which creates both challenges and opportunities for economic growth, fiscal sustainability, social cohesion and the silver and care economy”, stated Dubravka Šuica, Vice-President for Demography and Democracy of the European Commission, in her keynote speech.
With the European Pillar of Social Rights and the EU Green Paper on Ageing – recently submitted to public consultation – the European seeks to address the multiple dimensions of ageing in order to support member states’ policies.
Mrs Šuica further insisted on the need for intergenerational solidarity and fairness as being a lesson from the pandemic a crucial issue for a successful recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.
No trade-off on dignity
“The right to life a full life does not diminish with age, which means that there should be no trade-off between the ‘dignity of ageing’ and the ‘cost of ageing’”, insisted AGE Secretary General, Maciej Kucharczyk, in the panel discussion addressing “Dignity of ageing” versus “Cost of ageing”. “Well-being, personal fulfilment, and quality of life are unconditional rights which apply to everyone across the whole life span”.
Mr Kucharczyk reminds that “addressing the ageing population requires investment in social protection, in social infrastructure in care services for older people.” This investment will be particularly crucial in the context of building back from the COVID-19, and make sure all generations are enabled to participate in and contribute to society.
Our call for actions
AGE Secretary-General therefore calls for the prompt implementation of the principle 18 of the EU Pillar: the right to long-term care. To do so, member states should adopt the two new indicators on long-term care spending and coverage of needs that are proposed by the pillar action plan and the EU should introduce an EU target on long-term care to improve access to quality services and measure progresses.
Pointing out the invisibility of the principle 15 on old-age income in the Action Plan for the Pillar, Maciej Kucharczyk for this missed opportunity must be addressed. Pensions are inadequate, the gender pension gap is too high and old age poverty has been on the rise since 2015.
Moreover, the European economic governance must be fully fine-tuned with the implementation of the Action Plan for the Pillar. To do so, we need a full inclusion of the Pillar in the European Semester.
In order to connect the implementation on the Pillar of Social Rights and the follow-up on the Green Paper on Ageing, AGE calls for a white paper that would propose an EU Age Equality Strategy addressing the needs and aspirations of all generations
“Age Equality is the backbone of Solidarity between Generations, which is celebrated tomorrow as an EU Day”, reminded AGE Secretary-General. Read our article on the EU Day of Solidarity between Generations.