A combination of factors such as low income, poor health, age and/or gender-based discrimination, reduced physical or mental capacity, unemployment, isolation, abuse, and limited access to services can all play a part in increasing the risk of poverty and social exclusion as people age. Building on the policy legacy from the 2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion, the Europe 2020 Strategy includes a priority action, the so-called ‘flagship initiative’ on the fight against poverty. The Charter of Fundamental Rights is also a specific tool to enhance the overall social cohesion within the EU and at national level.
From AGE perspective, one of the main challenges is to make sure that all these various risks of poverty and social exclusion experienced by many older Europeans are adequately reflected in relevant national and European policies and strategies. So far older people are not directly targeted by national social inclusion strategies in most EU countries.
- Europe 2020 ‘flagship initiative’ on the fight against poverty – establishing European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion
- Annual Convention on Poverty and Social Exclusion – designed to help EU countries reach the headline target of lifting 20 million people out of poverty and social exclusion by 2020
- Open Method of Coordination – key EU policy framework to develop a comprehensive social inclusion strategy on social protection and social inclusion with direct involvement of all relevant stakeholders, including people experiencing poverty and social exclusion
- European Charter of Fundamental Rights – Article 1 referring to a fundamental right to ensure everyone’s dignity and independence
Task Force objectives
This Task Force seeks to raise awareness about the social realities of the most vulnerable older people and follows the evolution of their poverty and social exclusion risks. Our aim is to make governments and EU fully recognise the specificity of poverty risks in old age – from the life-cycle perspective – and address it by tailor-made policy measures.
We also monitor the progress in Member States’ and EU commitment to eradicate poverty as set in Europe 2020 strategy, in particular as regards:
- Solutions to address the impact of the crisis on older people’s lives;
- Poverty and social exclusion risks among the ‘oldest old’;
- Further ‘feminisation’ of poverty in old age;
- Growing difficulties in accessing and affording health services and long-term care;
- Poverty risk among older workers;
- Social isolation and loneliness among older people;
- Rights of most vulnerable older people, such as ethnic minorities;
- Reliable poverty measures combining all existing methods to capture adequately risks of poverty and social exclusion.
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