AGE took part in high-level EU discussions on COVID-19 impact on vulnerable groups
The COVID-19 confinement measures do not stop our advocacy work toward the European institutions. Quite the contrary, the challenges faced by older persons are further exacerbated during this COVID-19 crisis, making our work to advance rights in older age even more pressing and visible.
AGE has recently been invited to a number of high-level online discussions to inform EU’s policies in response to the pandemic.
COVID-19: drawing lessons to look ahead
On 29 April, together with representatives of users and providers of social services, AGE was invited to a high-level virtual meeting organized by European Commission Vice President for Democracy and Demography Dubravka Šuica, EU Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides, and Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit.
The European Commission called for this meeting to better understand the situation and needs of persons in vulnerable situations due to COVID-19, including older persons and persons with disabilities, and hear what the EU could do to provide adequate responses to the challenges they are facing during the pandemic. AGE Secretary General Anne-Sophie Parent asked for lessons to be learnt from the current crisis, in particular to improve their capacity to manage further pandemics and better respect human rights of older vulnerable persons. We also asked for the EU’s response to COVID-19 to be developed in synergies with the EU environmental commitments as part of the ‘Green Deal’ to ensure that both challenges which are connected to globalization will be addressed through mutually supportive initiatives. An issue that we also highlighted in our joint press statement with the European Youth Forum to mark the EU Day of Solidarity between Generations on 29th April 2020.
Although this meeting was held under Chattam House rules and no quotes were allowed, it was largely commented by the European Commissioners on social media, as you can see on the images below.
Involving citizens of all ages in reshaping Europe
A few days later, on 5 May, our Policy Director and Vice-President of the Social Platform of European NGOs, Maciej Kucharczyk, had again the opportunity to discuss with EU Vice President for Democracy and Demography, Dubravka Šuica, together with other members of the Social Platform. In her speech Vice-President Šuica quoted AGE recommendations and older persons as a key group affected by the pandemic, highlighting the need for the EU to be more inclusive and involve all citizens in the current debate on the future of Europe.
Looking at COVID-19 health issues
On 8 may, AGE was invited to participate in a webinar organised by the EU Health Policy Platform to address the COVID-19 epidemic's impact on mental health, vulnerable groups and healthcare workers. It was the opportunity for stakeholders and non-governmental organisations working in these three fields to share their experiences and voice their concerns. AGE Policy Coordinator for Health, New Technologies and Accessibility, Julia Wadoux, took part to share the perspective od older people. Read more in our article.