Social Summit: the EU looks beyond COVID, but must not blind itself to the recent past


Brussels, Belgium – 11th May 2021

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AGE Platform Europe hails the commitments made at the Social Summit in Porto to implement the Action Plan for the European Pillar of Social Rights. This has so far been a major missing piece in the EU’s social architecture. Looking forward, we call on the European institutions and Member States to set indicators and binding targets on all the principles of the Pillar to address ageing from the life-course perspective.


We applaud the ‘Porto Social Commitment’ signed by the EU institutions, social partners and the civil society represented by the Social Platform, as well as the adoption of the declaration of the European Council. However, we are concerned that leaders may want to turn the COVID-19 page too quickly and that the severe lack of resources in long-term care, revealed by the pandemic, may again be overshadowed.

‘ The Porto summit gauges the compass of the EU’s social action on supporting young people, fighting child poverty, promoting life-long learning and an inclusive labour market in the context of the green and digital transitions’, says Maciej Kucharczyk, AGE Secretary-General. ‘ The EU needed these commitments. We regret, however, that older people, their willingness, knowledge and skills to contribute to building back from the pandemic, as well as their sacrifices, including the lives lost during the pandemic, find no mention in the eyes of the leaders gathered in Porto. This is a missed opportunity for a social Europe that should promote a life-course approach to improve the well-being, dignity. and participation.’

We are reiterating our recommendations to address the long-standing deficiencies of the EU’s social systems that have led to the catastrophic situation in long-term care. We call for the adoption of indicators and targets for the access to affordable long-term care services and EU quality standards.

The Porto Social Commitment also overlooked older people by the principle to ‘channel resources where they are most needed’ during the recovery to fight unemployment and inequalities. The barriers to the employment and participation of older people, including discrimination and ageism, must be better addressed for a truly inclusive recovery.

It is urgent now that member States move forward and define their own national targets to reach in the framework proposed by the European Commission – or be even more ambitious than the original proposal.

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