Group of European Pensioners from Savings Banks and Financial Institutions


Index of documents > Euromeetings Magazine > Euromeetings Number 15

AGE General Assembly was held in the hotel CROWNE PLAZA EUROPA in Brussels, on May 5th and 6th.

 The opening act was conducted by Liz Mestheneos (Greece), and it was attended by 107 delegates of the 146 associate groups, representatives of 27 member states of the European Union.    This year I have been the only representative of the Group, as our chairman, José Roberto López had to stay in Alicante for personal reasons.

After closing the statutory part of the assembly, the participants passed the change of name of the association to  AGE Platform Europe


Afterwards, the delegates attended the presentation of the moral and activity report 2009 of Sophie PAREN, general manager, and Anne MENARD, communication officer.

 What should be highlighted in this report?


Ø  The beginning of the First European Conference for Solidarity, developed in collaboration with many NGOs. In order to start the European Year for Active Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity in 2010 (intergenerational solidarity was the main subject in the Euromeeting held in Toledo)  our group will put forward its conclusions in the next general assembly of the Platform.

Ø  The participation in the tasks organized by the Czech presidency on healthy ageing and dignity, so as to elaborate a charter on the rights of older people in need of long term care. AGE demanded a prioritary use of the Structural Funds aimed at such purpose.

Ø  The fight against abuse AGE and its collaborators have dealt with the drafting of this charter and the guide that explains professional and informal carers and how to respect the rights of elder people with examples of good practice. The process was sponsored by the DAPHNE Programme.  The objective is to convince european officers to establish compulsory rules of quality (concerning dignity, self-determination of private life, fight against abuse and verification of the care conditions) to be applied in institutional and home care.

Ø  New technologies and the elder  AGE has taken part in a workshop organized by the European Comission and the Parliament, presided by Viviane REDING, european comissioner of Information Society and Means of Communication. The tasks dealt with the role of new technologies in the service of the elderly. The participation of representatives and managers of the industrial sector enabled a step forward in the development of new technologies adapted for the needs of elderly people and to reinforce solidarity between generations.

Ø  Adoption of the first common declaration of AGE about this priorities for the next years.

2. AGE ACTIONS in several political documents

AGE collaborates with the consultative bodies created by the Commission: European Health Forum- Social Protection Committee. AGE has the status of consultative member of EMEA (European Medicines Agency).

The following points include various works developed by AGE:

Ø  Opened letter to the European Union’s Extraordinary Summit on the financial and economic crisis.

AGE explained the representatives of the governments the concerns of its members about the impact of the crisis in workers and the elderly, and reminded them of the healthy society that a government must guarantee. It was also emphasized that governments should return to the grounds that guarantee a decent salary for everyone.

Ø  Intervention before the European ministers of Employment, Social Affairs and Health, in the context of the fight against poverty and social exclusion. AGE and nine more NGOs work together in the  INCLUS âge project. The aim of this two-year project is to implement a programme of permanent civil dialogue making social exclusion easier.

Ø  AGE contribution to the debate on the future strategic framework of the EU. Objective “Europe 2010”

Ø  AGE actions against age discrimination. Meetings with permanent representatives in Brussels from various Members to develop a report on the legal inaccuracies of articles 2.7 (insurances) and 4 (disabilities). Thanks to AGE, the age limits in travel insurances and health and bank complements are a priority in the agenda of the EU Commission.

The dialogues with CEA (European Insurance Committee) allowed a better understanding of the need to revise the notion of risk.   AGE participates in the Legal Workshops of the European Commission to integrate the jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice in order to determine if age discrimination is against the Fundamental Rights. 

Ø  The Vice-President of AGE was invited to the European Summit on Equality with the European Women’s Lobby, to deal with the evolution and adaptation of the law.

Ø  AGE actions on disabilities. AGE has joined the EDF (European Disability Forum) to publish reference documents.

Ø  AGE and the promotion of active ageing. Against the age limit in European organizations. After the direct action of AGE, The age limit has been abolished in the European Court of Auditors, the Economic and Social Committee and the Europan Space Agency, among others.

Ø  AGE actions on the recognition of informal carers: Public spending in care services for the elderly must be regarded as an investment in favour of the employment and not as a burden for public finances.

Ø  Development of Eustacea Project with the support of the European Commission’s DAPHNE III Programme.

In collaboration with nine partner NGOs, AGE is working on the draft of the European Charter of the Rights of older people, to protect those who depend on a relative, a family carer or long term assistance. This guide was presented to professional associates, informal carers and politicians in charge of health affairs on May 2010.

Ø  AGE on health. AGE’s contribution to the determination of the European Parliament on the coordination of resources and researches concerning neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases) suffered by more than 7.3 million people in Europe.

Ø  AGE and the pharmaceutical pack In collaboration with other NGOs, AGE obtained the annulment of a guideline called pharmaceutical pack created by the Commission. On the pretext of informing the patients, it authorized the publicity of laboratories in medicines only available on prescription. President Barroso transferred the competence of this task, which was in the hands of the Commission. From now on, the Health and Consumers Commission will be responsible for the pharmaceutical pack.




The meeting was held with the participation of Alice Sinigaglia, administrative and assistant of the project, Dana Trama ZADA, vice-president of the European Commission for Fundamental Rights and Maude LUTHERNE, from the European Parliament Liaison Office and the Intergroup of the European Parliament on Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity.


The delegates discussed the aims which will be included in the next triennial Strategic Plan 2011-2013:

  1. Announce the situation and concerns of 150 million citizens older than 55 years old and inform the EU about their needs in order to take the right measures.

  1. To favour the next matters as a sphere of activity:

·                       Non-discrimination

·                       Active ageing and intergenerational solidarity

·                       Employment for older people, education and training throughout life

·                       Social inclusion and protection for the elderly

·                       Voluntary work of the elder

·                       Health and long term care

·                       Disability

·                         Fighting the “digital gap”

·                         Accesible built environment and public transport

4. AGE and European research projects

          AGE’s commitment to active ageing and welfare of older people has been reinforced by its participation in several european research projects.

AALIANCE Project:  Home assistance and independence. AENEAS Project : care and development of health. DREAMING Project: Research on vital and environmental parameters for home care. FUTURAGE Project: research on health and ageing HOME SWEET HOME Project: Supporting programme regarding home care services. OASIS Project: created for those who suffer from mild cognitive deficiencies. MEDIATE Project: AGE is in charge for the creation and management of the user’s platform for the public transport accesibility. VERITAS Project: in this high-technology project, AGE means to draw programmers' attention to the real needs of users to guarantee the responsability of the organized forums.

Some impressions of this two days...

This days full of exchanges and meetings with members of other associations highlighted the next facts: The economic crisis has brutally raised awareness of the phenomenon of ageing as a great burden for economy. It has also made the structure deficiencies evident. The encouragement of active ageing is essential if we do not want age to generate poverty and social exclusion.

With our communications, the European Group raises the demands of eight state members, and at the same time, cooperates with AGE by providing the conclusions and syntheses of our work. During this Assembly, I gave Anne Sophie PARENT, general manager of AGE, the documents prepared by our chairman, José Roberto López, which included the report on the Toledo Euromeeting and the synthesis regarding economic discrimination.

As you might see, the activity report 2009 and the AGE action plan 2010 mention the actions carried out about the matters which were studied in the Group and have been the purpose of the synthesis and conclusions of the last EUROMEETINGS.  : Sustainability of pensions (Siacca 2006); Health discrimination and abuse (Albufeira 2008); Sociopolitical discrimination: age discrimination on insurances (Santander 2009); Intergenerational solidarity (Toledo 2010).

During the meetings with the delegates we discussed the inequality in the protection of the fundamental rights of European citizens. We are even more aware of the struggle ahead of AGE and its members.  Success is based on cooperation between AGE Platform Europe and other partner associations as our EUROPEAN GROUP.

Jean Claude CHRÉTIEN
Deputy Chairman, France