January 19, 2010

EUROPE: "Guarantee decent life and respect human dignity in old age"

. BRUSSELS, Belgium / AGE Platform Europe / January 19, 2010 AGE Platform Europe, a European network of organisations of people aged 50+ and representing over 22 million older people in Europe, has called for measures to guarantee decent life and respect human dignity in old age. On the occasion of the opening conference on January 21 in Madrid to launch the EU Year 2010 for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion, AGE Platform Europe presents its demands to the national governments and the European Commission. In particular, AGE members call to: guarantee an adequate minimum income to older people and pensioners, ensure more involvement of senior citizens in the policy-making process, develop quality standards for health and long-term care services and take employment targeted measures which enforce gender equality and combat in-work poverty. A minimum old age income should be recognized as fundamental right to ensure everyone’s dignity and independence and fight poverty. In addition to this “monetary” aspect, actions should be taken to facilitate access to essential services, such as quality health care, decent housing, education and long-life learning and social and civic participation for all citizens whatever their age. People aged 65+ are one of the most vulnerable groups exposed to poverty and social exclusion. According to Eurostat statistics for 2008, the at-risk-of poverty rate for those aged 65 years and over was 19% in the EU27 with older women facing even much higher poverty rates. Therefore, older people should be recognized as a specific target group in European and national action plans or strategies on social inclusion. Looking ahead, AGE asks to assess the Lisbon Strategy before setting in place a new EU policy agenda for 2020. A firm commitment to eradicating poverty and social exclusion by 2020 must be the overall aim for the new EU 2020 Strategy where growth objectives support social cohesion. [rc] Click here to read AGE Platform Europe demands for EY 2010. Click to download EY 2010 Opening Conference PDF file Source: Press Release from AGE Platform Europe.