AGE assessment of the EU Semester 2017: Some social improvements but further progress is still needed
Based on input from its member organisations, AGE has published its assessment of the European Semester 2017, in which we highlight positive developments and shortcomings, and provide recommendations in a number of areas from a European and a country-by-country perspective.
Although AGE welcomes the social considerations have been included in the 2017 European Semester exercise, this EU policy coordination process still remains first and foremost concerned with budgetary controls with social policies being subordinate to this.
In our assessment, we point out that some important domains are still left out of the Semester: employment services have not the necessary tools and means to support older jobseekers, age discrimination still inhibits many older people to find a job or to stay in their employment. Especially older women feel the triple burden of the high gender pension gap, the unmet social care needs which they have to provide informally and the high risk of poverty at very old age. Investments into quality long-term care, both home-based and in person-centred residential care settings are insufficient to face the upcoming needs for long-term care. And while the Silver Economy has a high potential for growth and jobs in Europe, essential aspects such as the accessibility of all goods and services, the access to services in rural and urban areas, the digital gap and the issues of loneliness and social isolation are largely ignored in the European Semester.
In AGE’s assessment, member organisations from seven member states – Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands and Spain – have also highlighted the situation in their own member states. They provide a thorough assessment of the priorities of older people in these countries.
Following the adoption of the European Pillar of Social Rights at the European Social Summit on 17 November in Gothenburg, AGE publishes a press release calling for an active application of the principles in the Pillar in the next Semester cycle, starting with the Annual Growth Survey 2018.