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About time older people had the same rights as everyone else, Liz tells Parliament

November 11, 2010 2:20 PM
Originally published by Liz Lynne
Liz Lynne at a plenary session of the European Parliament

Liz Lynne strongly supported the Mann Report on Demographic Challenge adopted today by the European Parliament.

Lib Dem MEP Liz Lynne has made a speech in the European Parliament demanding that Europe's older people should not be treated as second class citizens.

The MEP for the West Midlands Region, First Vice President of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee, spoke during a debate on the Mann Report on demographic change at the plenary session in Brussels on Wednesday evening.

The Mann Report, adopted today by 440 votes to 122, details the changes needed to deal with Europe 's ageing population and the need to fight prejudice and discrimination based on age.

Liz Lynne thanked Thomas Mann for his co-operation and said she was pleased the report being presented for its first reading had adopted so many of her amendments

She said: "We have to face the fact that many older people are treated badly in many member states. The worst example is elder abuse, but there are others including age discrimination in the workplace.

"That is why I am pleased that in this report we call for proper implementation of the 2000 Employment Directive and for older people to be made aware of their rights.

"I am also pleased that we call for an end to a mandatory retirement age, while of course maintaining a fixed pension age set at member state level.

"It is wrong to force older people to stop working if they want to carry on and still have the ability to do their work.

"We also need to keep up the pressure on the Council of Ministers to unblock the horizontal directive on access to goods and services, covering age discrimination among other things.

"It is about time older people had the same rights as everyone else."

ENDS

Notes to editors:

MEPs voted by 440 to 122 to adopt the Mann report in a vote during today's mini plenary session in Brussels . Liz Lynne MEP, who is the 1st Vice President of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee, tabled a number of amendments in Committee calling for:

  • The adoption as soon as possible of the antidiscrimination directive proposed by the European Commission that will ban discrimination on the grounds of age in access to goods and services
  • The European Commission to produce a green paper on elder abuse.
  • The development of a voluntary code of conduct to be adopted by the European Parliament and the European Commission on the provision of long term care for older people.
  • The implementation of the 2000 Employment Directive that outlaws discrimination on the grounds of age in employment.
  • The report calls on Member States to look at scrapping compulsory retirement ages, a move recently agreed by the coalition government in the UK .

Further Background on the adopted report:

  • The Mann report notes that according to the Commission's own estimates, demographic changes could profoundly change population structure and the age pyramid. The number of young people aged 0 to 14 would drop from 100 million (1975 index) to 66 million in 2050, the working population would peak at 331 million in about 2010 and thereafter decrease steadily to about 268 million in 2050, while the number over 80 would rise from 4.1 % in 2005 to 11.4 % in 2050.
  • The report makes it clear that older people are not a burden on the economy and society, but rather a dependable asset and significant added value.
  • The report considers it important to fight prejudice and discrimination in all its forms and towards all groups of society and to work towards a society where older people are treated equally as human beings with fundamental rights.
  • The report emphasises that lifelong learning must be a central aim in all education-related measures.