Led by MEP Milan Brglez, 36 Members of European Parliament from several European political parties signed a joint letter calling for solidarity between generations to be at the heart of the EU response to and recovery from COVID-19.
The letter welcomes and supports efforts to step up a European response and underline the importance of respecting of the EU principle of solidarity between generations, enshrined in article 3 of the Treaty on the European Union. They reaffirmed the intrinsic value of human life at every age, strongly deploring all forms of ageism, and reiterated the need to continue the reflection on demographic change and solidarity between generations in discussions at the level of the EU and in the Member States. Only through such an approach will it be possible to guarantee adequate protection of human rights of all persons, especially those with greater risk factors: older persons, persons with disabilities, children and others. Keeping them at the heart of discussions is also of key importance for strengthening social cohesion.
The letter refers to the fact the current health crisis has shown the important – and neglected – role that informal carers play as a non-recognised first line. Particularly families who are stepping in for reduced schooling, childcare and long-term care services are providing safety nets during the lock-downs, and many of them are heavily challenged to combine care and employment. Supporting them should be an integral part of response and recovery strategies.
In the short term, they call on the European Commission to continue the reflection on demographic change and ageing via the forseen Report on the Impact of Demographic Change and the announced Green Paper on Ageing, highlighting these are more urgent than ever in the context of COVID-19 and should not be postponed any further.
In the medium and long-term, they call for stronger investment in health promotion and disease prevention, to rebuild the resilience of our social and healthcare systems to crises such as the current one. The emergency and recovery programmes under discussion should lead to coordinated and solidarity-based answers to achieve health and protection for all. An initiative on the quality and financing of long-term care and working conditions in the sector should address the shortcomings laid bare by the crisis.
See the full letter and 36 signatories here.