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Liz backs call for ‘Silver Seniors’ to help promote active ageing in 2012

December 10, 2011 12:22 AM

Liz Lynne MEP (centre) with Vincent Depaigne, legal expert from the European Commission (l) and Anne-Sophie Parent, Director of AGE (r)Lib Dem Euro MP Liz Lynne is backing a cross-party call to promote networks of 'Silver Seniors' to map the needs of older people, share ways to bridge the generation gap and promote a more active old age.

The European Commission is being urged by MEPs and charity campaigners to back a 'Seniors in Action - Invest in Silver Innovation' programme to train older volunteers to get involved in innovative schemes to challenge age discrimination and encourage older people in community life.

The idea is hoped to be an effective grass roots initiative for 2012, which has been designated European Year on Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations.

Other plans in the Written Declaration include an age‑friendly environment network and a European 'Covenant of Mayors' to support the exchange of experience and best practice between councils and regions on the best local schemes to promote active and healthy ageing.

West Midlands Lib Dem MEP Liz Lynne, First Vice President of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee is a longstanding campaigner against age discrimination at work and in society.

She said: "One of the most profound social changes happening in almost every European country is a huge increase in the number of older people. This is both a demographic challenge and a massive opportunity.

"The best way to respond, as research shows, is to change expectations, to encourage a longer perhaps less inten
2012 Year of Active Ageing is a great idea but needs to leave something practical behind. This cross-party declaration in the European Parliament follows some hard thinking on how we can make a success of it.

"We want to encourage and focus the efforts of governments, local authorities, social partners and civil society to use 2012 to promote the real benefits of healthy and active ageing and share best practice.

"Every European country needs to mobilise the potential of the rapidly growing population in their 50s, 60s and over. Active ageing also covers volunteering, lifelong learning, cultural expression and involvement in sport, all proven to promote health and wellbeing. Member States should also be developing national action plans on active and healthy ageing."

ENDS

Note: European Parliament Written Declarations, similar to early day motions in Westminster, need 369 signatures to be adopted.

0048/2011 Written declaration on the European Year for Active Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity in 2012

The European Parliament,

- having regard to Article 3 of the Treaty of Lisbon promoting solidarity between generations, having regard to Article 25 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union protecting the rights of the elderly, having regard to Rule 123 of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas demographic change is, together with climate change and the economic crisis, the main challenge thatEU Member States will have to face in the coming decades;

B. whereas 2012 will be the European Year on Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations and it is of utmost importance to create age-friendly environments;

1. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to support the creation of an EU age‑friendly environment network that would provide support to local, regional and national actors seeking to foster active and healthy ageing using the participatory methodology developed by the World Health Organisation;

2. Calls on the Commission to launch a European Covenant of Mayors on Active and Healthy Ageing to support the exchange of experiences and good practices at local and regional levels, and a 'Seniors in Action - Invest in Silver Innovation' programme to train older volunteers to map the needs of older people in their communities;

3. Calls on the Member States to develop national action plans on active and healthy ageing within their National Reform Plans;

4. Instructs its President to forward this declaration and names of signatories, to the Commission, the Council and the Member States.