AGE message to Spring Summit: Restore the social dimension as an equal priority for EU governance in the context of Europe 2020
Brussels, 21 March 2011
AGE message to Spring Summit, 24-25 March 2011
Restore the social dimension as an equal priority for EU governance in the context of Europe 2020
On the eve of the Spring Summit, AGE has addressed a clear call to the President of the European Council and to Heads of State and Government, stressing the need for the predominantly economic focus of the European semester to be re-aligned and for equal attention to be paid to implementing the social aims of the Europe 2020 Strategy and to addressing the concerns of older citizens, in particular to:
- Restore inclusive growth as an equal priority for EU governance in the context of the Europe 2020 Strategy;
- Carry out a pro-active social impact assessment of the crisis and austerity measures on older people;
- Invest in social infrastructures that support people in old age;
- Clarify stakeholder involvement in the implementation of the European semester.
According to Anne-Sophie Parent, AGE Secretary General, “Older people’s organisations across the EU consider that policy makers should not only be concerned with ensuring economic recovery but also with ensuring Europe’s social recovery. The impact of the crisis is social as well as economic and particularly affects people in later life. Many older people are facing real challenges in their daily lives as a result of national public cuts in social protection and reduced welfare measures, and governments should not sweep these social realities under the table in their efforts to restore economic growth.”
Ms Parent also expressed concern that civil society is consulted less and less by policy makers. Both Recital 16 of the Employment Guidelines and the recent EPSCO Conclusions (February 2011) make explicit reference to the importance of consultation with civil society for the success of the Europe 2020 Strategy. “In today’s climate of tentative economic recovery, national governments need to listen to the voice of NGOs who are in the privileged position of being able to report on what exactly is happening in terms of the social realities on the ground. It is essential that older people’s representatives are consulted every step of the way in the new European semester and the National Reform Programme process”, stressed Ms Parent.