In its recent contribution to the European Commission’s consultation on the Green Paper on Ageing of Wednesday 21 April 2021, the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) has highlighted the need for more family-friendly policies and EU policies boosting intergenerational solidarity.
On Wednesday 21 April 2021, COMECE contributed to the consultation of the European Commission on the Green Paper on Ageing, whose principal aim is to launch a wide public debate on the necessary regulations to anticipate and respond to the socioeconomic impacts of Europe’s ageing population.
In its contribution, COMECE welcomes the Green Paper’s strong focus on intergenerational solidarity and underlined the necessity for:
- improving participation in the labour market, especially for older workers;
- implementing systems of life-long learning;
- raising awareness of the issue of elderly abuse;
- a new focus on the situation of elderly living in rural areas;
- promoting a fair and affordable access to healthcare;
- implementing a fair pension system;
- recognizing the qualifications achieved within the framework of voluntary work;
- promoting new forms of long-term care for social inclusion.
In the context of longer life expectancy, COMECE has also stressed the importance of providing spiritual guidance to the elderly, as well as making the spiritual and cultural resources of elderly people more available to younger generations.
In these last years, COMECE has been working intensively on issues related to demographic change in the EU. In reaction to the European Commission´s 2020 Report on the Impact of Demographic Change, COMECE and the Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe (FAFCE) published the reflection paper entitled “The Elderly and the Future of Europe: Intergenerational solidarity and care in times of demographic change”, calling on the EU and its Member States to work on policies that recognize the crucial role of the elderly, protecting, promoting and including them, while ensuring their full participation in our communities. On the same direction is “Old age: our future – The elderly after the pandemic”, the document recently published by the Pontifical Academy for Life.
“The elderly are an integral part of the family, a source of support and encouragement for the younger generations. They cannot be separated from society and relational networks” – reads the COMECE-FAFCE document, which also highlights that “elderly people are not only vulnerable persons, but also dynamic actors of social life.”