Brussels, 15 July 2014
Dear Mr Juncker, congratulations with your election. We await with great impatience the appointment of the Commissioner in charge of the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
AGE Platform Europe congratulates Mr Juncker for his election as President of the European Commission. Older Europeans took note with great interest of his commitment to appoint a Commissioner in charge of the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and now hope this person will take forward an ambitious agenda to protect EU citizens’ rights, regardless of their age.
Today, the European Parliament elected Mr Juncker for a 5 year term as President of the European Commission with a comfortable majority. He now has few days to finalise his list of portfolios to constitute the new Commission. This is a key moment to ensure that Mr Juncker’s commitments are taken forward by the next College of Commissioners.
AGE welcomes the promise to appoint a Commissioner in charge of the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. We believe such position will help the EU to adopt a coherent and coordinated approach to address the situation of fundamental rights in all EU Member States.
EU’s approach to the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights has been so far on an ad hoc and fragmented basis and there is incoherence between how rights are addressed in EU’s internal and external action, which entails important disparities about how EU citizens can access their rights.
We therefore hope that the new Commissioner will take concrete steps to render the interventions of the EU institutions and the Member States in the area of fundamental rights more structured, better coordinated, effective and accountable.We further expect a close consultation and involvement of civil society to shape EU’s priorities in the area of fundamental rights.
Age discrimination is a key aspect here. Older Europeans are discriminated against in many areas of their lives, including access to employment and health, age limits in financial services and insurance products, and this has to stop if we want to build a Europe based on equality, fairness and inclusion.
Such Commissioner will have to play a crucial role to push as soon as possible the EU Council to adopt the long-awaited draft directive on equal treatment, as Mr Juncker promised this morning at the European Parliament. This would give the EU the relevant tools to fight against discrimination in all areas of its citizens’ lives and would close the existing gap in the implementation of article 25 of the EU Charter.
We also call Mr Juncker to adopt an EU Strategy on Demographic change to make sure that challenges posed by the ageing of the population will be addressed adequately and in a coordinated way in the coming years.
As the largest network representing older people in Europe, we remain committed to closely collaborate with the new President and future College of Commissioners to make the EU more age-friendly.
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AGE Manifesto for the European Elections 2014 (here)
AGE proposals for questions to the candidate President of the European Commission (here)
AGE recommendations to the new EU leaders (here)