Group of European Pensioners from Savings Banks and Financial Institutions


Index of documents > Euromeetings Magazine > Euromeetings Number 14






The 7 and 8 of May 2009, I participated, along with our President, Mr. José Roberto López, in the General Assembly of the Platform in Brussels.


   97 delegates, representatives of 27 member countries of the European Union, were present at the time of the opening of the work under the charge of Mrs. Liz Mestheneos, from Greece, President. She explained the framework of the days with these words:


   “Not a single European will be saved from the outbreak of the financial bubble. We should deeply recognize and understand better the impact of the economic recession on our vulnerable population of the Elderly People and the repercussions for the young generations. The Elderly People, they become the financial supporters of family, or will be considered as a weight that becomes heavier and heavier for the economy.”




   The moral report presented by the General Director, Mrs. Anne Sophie Parent, reminded the basic points from 2008.


   2008 was determined by the extension of the European legislation concerning Discrimination. The Platform was able to change the position of the European Commission, obtaining the correction of the original Directive, which now includes:


·        No discrimination in the access to goods and services.

·        No health discrimination.

·        No discrimination based on age.


   AGE also launched an awareness campaign for solidarity amongst the generations that had as a culminating point, the 29th of April, the European Meeting of intergenerational solidarity.


   AGE got involved with the European Union Institutions in the preparation of “2010 European year for combating poverty and social and economic exclusion”. AGE will demand from the people in charge a commitment to specific initiatives with the goal of combating poverty within the elderly people.


   AGE has consolidated its relationships with the European Union Institutions, the Commission, the Aging Intergroup of the Parliament, and the Committee of the Regions. It also highlighted the concern of the Elderly People for the pressure actions (lobbying), and the financial or conceptual cooperation with these different European entities.



   The workshops were organized Friday 7h of May to define the work priorities of AGE, with the goal of facing the crisis and preparing big strategic lines for the Triennial Plan 2011/2013.


   Two main topics:


·        The impact of the economic crisis in the future European social model design.

·        The solidarity between generations: Could it be a solution to the crisis?





   It took place with the participation of Mr. Jacob, Director of Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the European Commission.


   The two topics discussed during the plenary session were:


·        A summary of the work done in the workshops.

·        Annual Action Plan.


   The work program for 2009 will remained focused in the contribution of AGE to the strategic process.





·        Collection and permanent spreading of information about the discrimination based on age.

·        Follow-up of the communication “No discrimination and equal opportunities” in the European framework in favour of equality.

·        Directive proposal concerning the application of equal treatment, with no discrimination due to age or physical handicaps.

·        Declaration of a policy that will mobilise a group of proposals aimed to feed the European Commission debates, with a view to the participation of AGE in the Third Conference on Equality (April 2009), and in November 2009 in the convention of Prague concerning “Media and Diversity”.


B)    Participation in the meetings with experts, including insurance companies, for a better evaluation of the inherent risk of age.

C)    Participation in the work of the European Alliance for Families, about the demographic challenge.

D)    Participation, in association with the European Commission, in the processes of rationalization of the social protection areas (pensions), social inclusion, health, and long term health treatments.

E)    Participation in “2009 Year of Innovation and Creativity”, a chance to stimulate employment in the sector of long-term treatments, by means of the new technologies.

F)     Presence in the Commission environment and delivery of political documents and proposals concerning the quality of health care and abuses.

G)    Participation in the European awareness campaign about the intergenerational solidarity. This campaign has been developed jointly with the (YPJ) Youth European Forum.






   Like many of us, I did not get to understand, or I did it in a very imprecise way, what AGE is, its function, its mission.


   I knew that it was a European Platform devoted to the elderly people. I knew that the Group is a member of this Platform and, after some investigations made through internet websites, I had a fragmented vision of its action in favour of the elderly people in the European level.


   In Brussels, because of my first participation in an AGE assembly, I became aware of two things:


·        The necessary existence of AGE

·        The rationale behind our Group.



Why is the AGE Platform necessary for the elderly people’s defence?


   The Platform, made up of 150 associations, like our European Group, represents 25 million elderly people. It has the mission of accepting the defence of the interests of 150 million people over the age of 50 years, in the 27 countries that make up the European space.


   At this level, it has the mission of raising the awareness, in the general public and the responsible politicians, concerning the opportunities and the apparent challenges as consequences of population aging; to draw up appropriate and strategic answers and promote the interests and participation of the European elderly citizens in the process that involves decisions within the European Union.


An ambitious and praiseworthy humanitarian Project; but… What is the real power of AGE?


   The AGE action is situated within the framework of the PROGRESS Community Program managed by the Directorate of Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the European Commission. This program stretches out over 7 years (2006-2013) and concerns all the parts liable to settle the evolution of the social policies of the 27 state members of the European Union.


The three expert groups (Fight against discrimination, Social inclusion, Health and Social Services) participate in the work of the different groups organised by the European Commission:


·        Forum about Healthcare and Health

·        European Forum for Pensions

·        Online Consulting Group for Healthcare and Health

·        Online Consulting Group for Digital Culture and Insertion

·        AGE is consulted systematically by the High European Committee of social protection

·        From a medical point of view, AGE has been able to influence the Commission concerning the rejection of advertisement on medicines sold with a prescription.

·        EMEA, the European Agency, has granted an advisory seat to AGE

·        AGE participates in the active and financial association in European projects, such as DAPHNE (abuses) 


Two meetings full of teachings and discussions

   In the course of a conversation with Anne Sophie PARENT, General Director of AGE, our President José Roberto López delivered and commented to her the synthesis of our work on the Socio-economic Discrimination, adopted in Santander during the Euromeeting. She did not forget to mention, and I quote literally: “In AGE, we need opinions, commentaries, and work done by the association members like yours. Thanks to this kind of documents, we build our strategy”.


   It is important to underline that, if the European Group feeds by way of their communications, the national institutions of 8 state members, feeds by actions, by way of sending the conclusions and synthesis, the work at a European level. The activity report of 2008 and the action plan of 2009 of the AGE Platform mentioned the adopted positions and actions to carry out concerning topics that we have already studied in our Group, and that have been expressed in summaries and conclusions in previous Euromeetings. An example: Pension Sustainability (Siacca 2006); Health Discrimination; Abuses (Albufeira 2008); Social-Political Discrimination, Age discrimination in insurances (Santander 2009).


The participants in the Euromeetings are not always capable of gauging the important role played by our European Group and its complementarity with the AGE Platform. These participants only possess a national perspective of the work done by the European Group, and for that reason, they underestimate our action in the widest framework of the European Union.

   For that reason, independently of the Minutes of this General Assembly of AGE, I have tried to make public my impressions and experiences after these two days of meetings in Brussels.



Jean Claude Chrétien.