PLATFORM OF ELDERLY PEOPLE
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
The moral report presented by the
General Director, Mrs. Anne Sophie Parent, reminded the basic points from
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
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
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
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
The impact of the economic crisis in the future European social model
The solidarity between generations: Could it be a solution to the
- MAY 8th
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
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
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
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
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
MY EXPERIENCES AFTER THESE TWO MEETINGS
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
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
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
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
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
The three expert
groups (Fight against discrimination, Social inclusion, Health and Social
Services) participate in the work of the different groups organised by the
Forum about Healthcare and Health
European Forum for Pensions
Online Consulting Group for Healthcare and
Online Consulting Group for Digital Culture and
AGE is consulted systematically by the High European Committee of
From a medical point of view, AGE has been able to influence the
Commission concerning the rejection of advertisement on medicines sold with a
EMEA, the European Agency, has granted an advisory seat to
AGE participates in the active and financial association in European
projects, such as DAPHNE (abuses)
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
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.