Nov 16, 2023

Ferpa: Presentation of the ETUC Manifesto – European Parliament – 15 November 2024 Intervention of Agostino Siciliano, General Secretary of Ferpa.

“Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

The European Trade Union Confederation, with its Manifesto, presents its proposals for the future of social progress in Europe and appeals to you, the European political parties and future candidates in the upcoming European Parliament elections to support them.

FERPA, the European Federation representing 10 million pensioners and older people, affiliated with the ETUC, supports the Manifesto and its objectives, to achieve a more inclusive and solidarity-based Europe, without violence, oppression, insecurity.

A Europe that knows how to guarantee the rights of all citizens, without age and gender discrimination.

A Europe where retiring and aging with dignity, without fear of poverty and loneliness especially among women.

We reject the threat of the far right that tries to call into question the welfare state won over the years, union rights and social dialogue.

In recent years, wages and pensions have lost purchasing power, while so many employers have increased their profits.

We demand the recovery of the purchasing power of wages and pensions and full and good employment for all with better jobs, with a greater focus on young people and women, through the strengthening of collective bargaining and social dialogue and the establishment of a European minimum pension to combat poverty.

This is the only way to build collective welfare and ensure good wages and pensions that are adequate and revalued for inflation.

Social security must be guaranteed through good public and long-term health care, taking into account that so many elderly people forego treatment because of economic problems, and adequate housing for all, which also takes into account the needs of the elderly.

Therefore, we call for avoiding a return to the Stability Pact, which in some countries has resulted in cuts in health care, pensions and increased poverty, particularly among the elderly population, a condition that is unacceptable and contrary to the European Pillar of Social Rights.

We need a new development model, based on growth and investment in social policies as well.

People over the age of 65 are more than one-fifth of the European population and their numbers are set to increase. A segment of the population that is largely ignored in debates and proposals. They are, and should be considered, on the contrary, an asset for Europe. The extension of lifespan is a great achievement, the result of the European welfare model. It must become an opportunity and not be considered a cost. The revival of the economy can be achieved by investing in the welfare of all: women, men; young people, adults and the elderly; workers and retirees.

Ladies and gentlemen, the upcoming elections to the European Parliament will be important. We at Ces and Ferpa will do everything we can to make known and claim our values and priorities, which we hope you will share and support in Parliament today and tomorrow.

The millions of older and retired people we represent as Ferpa want to continue to be protagonists in their countries and in Europe. And they will also be so by wholeheartedly exercising their right to vote in the upcoming European elections.”