Green Seniors, Member briefs November 2013 summary
Dear member of Green Seniors
This is the third year in a row that we send out an autumn letter to our members. We would of course hope that we had the resources to give out a few messages a year but unfortunately, our budget is still very tense. The allowance from the party Executive is 20 000 SEK for a full year of operations. This, together with the membership fees and some gifts is not enough for all that we would like to do but we will still pursue our plan this year.
Aside from the money, we have this year been through much of what we want within the party. We’re starting to get a policy for elderly worthy of the name in the Green party which would be a pleasure to bring out in the election.
Today is about 26% (SCB-forecast for 2014) of voters over 65. Many of our peers are genuinely interested in the issues of the Green party and we want to push for more votes on the party and participate in creating a better world.
This year, it will be 5 years since Green Seniors was formed – October 2008. Read the history in the specific article!
Remember! The future belongs to all generations and we shape it!
Board meeting in August 2013. Standing from the left. Torbjörn Malvå, Jan Rydén, Mona Eriksson, Åke Askensten. Seated from the left Vivianne Gunnarsson, Karin Petersson, Ingrid Bergman. Not in the picture members Kerstin Sundquist, Valter Mutt and Eva Hellung Strohl.
What has happened during 2013?
The spring was marked by the work of the new party program and getting into Green Seniors suggestions in the program. As we have heard it is also likely to be a lot about older people in the election platform, which we welcome.
The Congress, Green Seniors had submitted five motions but we did not put them because only the party program and the labour market policy Bill would be treated. A motion about more trained geriatricians in the care of the elderly, however, were dealt with under the labour market policy Bill and got approval.
Green Seniors national organization had again produced a motion about Green Seniors as side body that didn’t get added. When the party’s Executive Committee opted to put forward new statutes where the words “side organization” was excluded (very important for the status of Green seniors) Green Seniors put an alternative proposal meaning that the Green Seniors would have the same status as Green Youth and Green Students. This proposal was discussed at the Congress in 2012 and was supported by the party’s Executive Committee but was rejected by Congress. As the Charter proposal did not win a two-thirds majority it needed to come up at next Congress to be confirmed. In the introduction to the Congress in 2013, this decision was taken without having been distributed in advance. Vivianne Gunnarsson who was a delegate for the city of Stockholm, made a reservations to the protocol against the decision.
The Party’s Executive Committee the organization has adopted a proposal which means that Green Seniors classified as network. This means, among other things that we will conclude an agreement with the party’s head of services from Office and get approval of the board by the Executive Committee. Because Green Seniors is a private association and the Board of Directors and annual meeting are committed to Green Seniors will work to get the same status as the former side organizations, now connected, Green Youth and Green Students have assigned to Board to hold talks with the Executive Committee and the Permanent Secretary.
ENGS, European network of green seniors Board participated in the EGP, the European Green party’s meeting in Madrid, 10-12 May 2013. On the agenda of the Spring Summit was, among other things a proposal on pension system for Europe, which also was voted on “towards sustainable and fair pensions”. At the same meeting Vivianne Gunnarsson, Sweden was chosen into the Board. The other members are Birgit Meinhard Schiebel, Austria Chairman, Tony Cooreman treasurer and Walter Decoene, Belgium, Tom van der Wal, Netherlands, Marjatta Donner Finland and Ute Schmitz, Germany general secretary. Feel free to read on the website firstname.lastname@example.org
Regional and local chapters
West Sweden region and Gothenburg, report by Ingrid Bergman and Mona Eriksson. In the West Sweden region we have had 7 Board and member meetings. Usually we have activities among the local general public in the morning or at lunch time and the meeting in the afternoon. At the beginning of June was a two day meeting in Strömstad. The evening we drove away down at the harbour with buffet together with invited local Green seniors. We recruited more members.
In June, we were on a rafting on river Nossan where we acted for our cause and managed to enlist young people to the Green Party. During the MP’s regional days 20-21Sept we took the opportunity to advertise Green seniors at Borås. A couple of gardens offered organic fruit and facilitated our conversation with the population. The theme of this day was the integration and we had invited staff from the party headquarters who gave us a very interesting lecture. In the evening we met with and listened to a Chilean song group. The day after, we had the leftover pizza outside the room where the Greens regional meeting was. Then we managed to invite for pizza some of the top politicians. We hope to spread positive vibes for the sake of elderly.
Green seniors Gothenburg made a study visit at Vegahemmet, a retirement home run by the municipality of Gothenbourgh. We had members meeting with conversations around Bodil Jönssons book “Time for the meaningful” and we participate in outreach activities, i.e. together with other language groups and, together with the Green Youth and Green Students.
Within The local area, we will be involved in Green Seniors West Sweden activities at various locations in the region and we have co-operation with Green Seniors in Scania for exchange of experiences. In connection with election work in Oslo ahead of the Norwegian election we were represented along with the Green Youth.
We hold some political office in municipal and regional policy. Several of the entries are at the Bureau level. One of our members has been elected into the party’s Executive Committee, another is a member of The Nominating Committee, one is in the party group of Auditors in the region and we are represented on the boards of Green seniors national organization and Green seniors West Sweden. One of our MPs from Gothenburg is now a member.
In autumn another two member meetings are planned, one of the venues for the elderly and about preventive activities in the municipality and another meeting on housing for the elderly, together with the municipal network.
The Stockholm Region, report by Vivianne Gunnarsson In the Stockholm region Green Seniors have about 90 members. We have Board meeting 8-9 times a year and has the same number of member meetings. All meetings are open. We invite both external and internal speakers. In the spring we arranged two seminars which were open to the public. In the first we invited a professor of geriatric discipline from Umeå University, and a professor from Stockholm University. The other seminar was about housing for elderly. Both workshops were very well attended and filmed by MP’s local TV editorial staff for reportage in Open channel of Stockholm.
We took part in activities in municipalities in the region organized by their Green party departments and in the activities organized by the city of Stockholm. We were active in the campaign “disservice Stockholm” which involved stopping the motorway tunnel under lake Mälaren, crossing the world heritage king´s castle Drottningholm and other green areas and suburbs. We had a nice summer shutdown in the southern town of the region, Nynäshamn.
In Stockholm City Council, we have two active seniors and in the County Council, three active. In the 26 municipalities of our county there are also seniors, in some Councils, and we also have several representatives in the committees and boards. Now we are planning on the municipal and regional level elections together with the MP regional board. We are also discussing with the Green Youth and students what we can do jointly in the elections.
In Södertälje town, we attended a senior day with exhibitions, lectures and cultural elements. During the Senior fair in Stockholm on 15-17 October, we had a counter and some 15 seniors who helped to staff it. The stand was visited by Green MP Agneta Luttropp and several local top names. We got new members but more important was that the event made us visible to other parties and new voters when the fair was visited by 15 000 people.
Scania region, report by Torbjörn Malvå Scania region is struggling to get Green Seniors known among citizens. It feels good to be able to offer an alternative, as a supporter for those who have reached age 55 + and as you may know, they constitute almost 1/3 of the nation’s population.
During the year we have had 7 Board meetings and an annual meeting. A highlight was our autumn meeting that took place in Bara when also some members from West Sweden participated.
Green seniors in Scania have chosen to work in groups for information, culture, environment and climate, and self-care. In addition, we have divided the area into districts to get a structure for pre-election responsibilities. Our cooperation with the region of Scania and the party has worked out very well. In the spring, MP Scania, Green Youth, Green Students and Green Seniors had a Vision day together with the Regional Council group and the executive board of Green party Scania. The groups presented themselves for each other and then we divided ourselves into mixed groups to discuss priority policy, common strategies, responsibilities, advertising etc. This day was a very good start to the election process where we also got to know the other side.
At the end of September were municipal and Regional days in Eslöv. Green Seniors Scania had arranged a well-attended seminar in which, among other things a professor in geriatric medicine and our councilor Anders Åkesson took part.
Green Seniors have also during the year participated in meetings with immigrant groups, PRO, Environmental day in Malmö, the Romani national day, senior days, Green party Lund´s women organization and so on.
During the year, the Green Seniors Scania had the election meetings around Scania. Hörby, Tomelilla, Bjuv, Eslöv, etc. In Hörby and Tomelilla we also participated in the markets. Regional councils in Scania call Green Youth, students and Seniors to regular meetings starting 7/10. As in previous years Green Seniors will have a Christmas party in Helsingborg, Scania, Sweden on 14/12.
Answer to the government on the retirement age investigation final report SOU 2013: 25 Green Seniors is a grouping of senior ecologists who with special interest follows the older political issues in society. We have taken note of the report “actions for a longer working life” and would like to make the following comments.
We understand that the issue of retirement age is investigated in the light of the fact that more and more are living ever longer. As a result, the proportion of elderly is increasing in relation to the number of working people but that does not mean that it is possible to generally step up the retirement age. We would like to emphasize that no concrete changes can be current before it made sufficient efforts to improve the working environment and working conditions for older people on the labour market. It is true that many of today’s elderly healthy and in good health but many are already at today’s retirement age tired and worn out by a mentally as well as physically strenuous work. Without improvements, an increase in the retirement age to discriminate against this group and thus give them a very low pension. The risk is that the created huge rifts in the society. We do not believe that the investigation has highlighted these issues enough. Instead, it seems the Economics Society of people in receipt of a pension for a longer period of time than in the past have been instrumental in the examiner’s opinion.
We believe that measures to improve the working environment and working conditions but also a flexible system with the possibility of partial retirement are important preconditions for more to work longer in years. There are also other important factors if you want a sustainable pension system. Not least important is the employer and colleagues ‘ attitudes to the colleagues who continue to work after 65 years. Surveys show that those who choose to work longer into old age are doing it because they feel needed and that they experience their work as meaningful and stimulating. Important factors are, of course, that it really pays to work and that old age will be overridden when it comes to stimulus and continuing education.
We Greens therefore wishes to emphasize the importance of Seniors increased support for research into the factors that today are older people to remain at work until 65 and after age 65. The first relevant knowledge about these very important factors to an increase in the retirement age has conditions that are accepted by the older and eventually implemented. Finally, we would point out that it is unreasonable to consider raising the retirement age, a decoupled from the design of the pension scheme and management of pension funds.
The Board of Directors for Green Seniorers national organization, 2013 08 29 ……….Vivianne Gunnarsson and Eva Hellung Strohl
For sustainable and fair pensions in Europe,
Vivianne Gunnarsson reported on the EGP’s (European Green Party) proposal of May 2013 (shortened version)
The proposal from The Greens means that we agree on several common objectives, even if pension systems in the various European countries have been designed differently. In order to avoid poverty in old age, it should be a general base in the system above the poverty line. Whether you’ve had work or not you must be able to live on your pension. In particular, women today have far too low pensions. The system should have a built-in progressive taxation so that even those who have high pensions contribute to the system.
Green New Deal (EGP-agreement since 2010-12) States that it should be a good balance between paid work and other activities such as studies, parenting, caring and voluntary work during life. The pension system should allow fluctuations of various pursuits in life, a life cycle dependent. Pension systems should increasingly rely on public and collective grounds. New methods of funding should be sought. It is important that pension reform is gradual and it is easy to figure out ones pension and get good information.
Swedish environment party the Greens and Finnish green wanted to delete the pensions from the common social rights and harmonization of European systems but it was voted down.
The Board’s annual report for calendar year 2013
The annual meeting was held on 26 May 2013 in Lovisagården in Västerås after the Green party’s Congress in the same city. Present were 28 voting members including Board and a couple of people beyond. Member of Parliament Agneta Luttropp began the meeting talking about the current ageing policies and what the MP’s are going to put forward. She then was elected Chairman of the meeting. Kerstin Sundquist provided us with refreshments. Outgoing Board members Bengt Johansson, Kjell Johansson, Anders Engqvist and outgoing auditor Ebbe Pehrsson were thanked with a book.
By the end of 2013 Green Seniors had about 300 paying members. This year, the regional organizations in Stockholm, West Sweden and Scania have been active. A number of local organizations are also continuing its activities, for instance the organization in Värmland.
In addition to the annual meeting, the Board had 10 meetings in 2013. By economic reasons were six of these by phone. The last meeting before Christmas would have been a nice meeting in Kristianstad but also became a meeting by phone because of the storm, Sven, which stopped all traffic. Between Board meetings, Working Committee (the convener and the Treasurer) have conferred to take hasty decisions.
The inaugural meeting was held in Stockholm on 31 August. Then it was decided that we would try to have three spokespersons, Ingrid Bergman, Torbjörn Malvå and Vivianne Gunnarsson. Treasurer was Jan Rydén, the Secretary was Kerstin Sundquist and responsible for the website Åke Asensten, also is responsible for the registry along with Mona Eriksson.
European Green Seniors
Vivianne Gunnarsson as a member of the Board attended the EGP’s (European green party) meeting in Brussels on 7-9 November, where ENGS also held two Board meetings and a discussion with interested members and members of the EGP. She brought presentation materials and photographs from previous events and activities to the common stand for ENGS. There were among other things pictures from Green Seniors Stockholm stand at Stockholm international fairs for elderly.
Ahead of the European elections EGP will decide on the election manifesto. This is on the EGP’s website (Googling for the European green party). ENGS are trying to influence elections manifesto so that ageing policies and participation of older people and rights will be included. Under the EGP meeting in February decisions on the manifesto will be taken.
ENGSs Board members have written in support of a petition on the needs and demands of older people in Europe that was discussed at the Board meeting. An agreement was made with Green Economic Institute in Oxford on a special book of elderly in Europe. The book will contain papers from two green Seniors, Eva Hellung Strohl and Vivianne Gunnarsson and articles of Ludvig Rasmusson who wrote the book “Age uprising”.
Relations with the mother organization, Green Party
In the spring, Bengt Johnsson and Vivianne Gunnarsson met with the national organization’s director regarding the decision of the Executive Committee to take on a new organization for the party where Green Seniors classified as network. No agreement has yet been concluded. Green Senior´s Board has decided to continue working for the same status as Green Youth and Green students. Green Seniors is an organization with its own by-laws. The Board has also prepared a meeting of the party’s Executive Committee that would take place in November but was pushed to January 2014. The party’s Executive Committee at the end of the year had not responded to the Green senior´s financial request of 130 000 Skr.
The spring was marked by the work of the party program to put in Green Seniorers proposals. The part concerning elderly has completely been written by different seniors. We have also managed put in the elderly as a group that may not be discriminated against and proposals about raising the retirement age has been changed to a more flexible retirement age.
Other activities 2013
A response on the State pension age investigation has been prepared and submitted.
Eva Hellung Strohl has sent a draft motion on care of the mentally ill elderly for dissemination among our MPs for any party motion or other activity in the Parliament or its committees. Jan Rydén has written in support of a parliamentary bill that people over 85 years are always going to get the chance to choose to stay in nursing homes without prior investigation. It is an expensive reform, which we propose will be funded by tax changes.
Green Seniors has participated in several seminars on the elderly and elderly health, inter alia. the theme of the newspaper today’s Medicine.
A new website has been developed where there is more information http://gronaseniorer.nu or Googling on ‘ green ‘ seniors. We are working to get a better connection to MP’s website. We are also on facebook.
We have tried to update our membership list and contact all members who are unpaid. Some have left and there is a variety of reasons, but one reason why they are outstanding is that the membership fee in the Green Party is not paid and that is mandatory.
We celebrated Green Seniorers 5th anniversary to write down the organization´s history.
The autumn 2013 was also marked by work on updating and new issues of brochures for the elections. They can be ordered for the election campaign or activities, please contact any of the Board. A simple page has been developed for the European elections. It can be copied up locally and be handed out together with other material. An example is sent with this mailing.
In November, the three conveners met the party’s Executive Committee to discuss the budget and Green Seniors position in the party
Work plan 2014
a) Work among the elderly to spread Green party policy and get more members in the party
b) In 2014, the movements seem to be more in group 55 + vote for the Green Party
c) Promote and develop the Green party’s ageing policies put forward in the new program.
d) Develop cooperation with the party’s MPs on matters which are of particular importance to elderly policy in Green seniors goals and programs
e) Work for an even greater coverage in Sweden by local and regional groups of Green Seniors. Special efforts are needed to reach the northern part of Sweden
f) Be active on the site and facebook and try to get into articles in the party’s newspapers
g) Promoting us and Greens amongst others. in seminars and through our printed materials
h) Develop a partnership with Green Youth and Green Students to promote solidarity between the generations
i) To have continued contact with the European Network of Green Seniors, ENGS and through our Member of its Board of Directors actively work for conditions of elderly in Europe.
j) Explore the possibility to participate in Almedalen
The Green senior´s annual meeting was held in May in Gothenbourgh the day before the election Congress of the Green Party. The meeting elected a new board. Ingrid Bergman, Gothenbourg and Jan Rydén, Lomma were elected spokespersons. Kerstin Sundquist, Eva Hellung Strohl and Karin Pettersson were re-elected. Vivianne Gunnarsson, Stockholm, Åke Askensten Stockholm, Mona Eriksson and Walter Mutt Gothebourg were replaced by persons from Gothenbourgh and Scania. The protocol has not yet been distributed. It is also evident that the money from the party is 20 000 Skr as last year.
The 2014 annual Green Party Congress,
We have not been able to make any motions because only elections and the manifesto were treated. Some of the Board members tried to make changes in the manifesto before the congress to get something said about elderly policy but none of the proposals were taken. That resulted in a manifesto without any words of elderly except that all people regardless of age, background, sex, sexuality, should be treated equally.
Green Seniors staffed a stand at the congress which was visited by many party members.
In 2014, Green seniors has concentrated on working with the elections at local level. Because Stockholm no longer have any member in the national Board, Eva Hellung Strohl is attached to the Stockholm Regional board. There is a preparation going on to go out with a newsletter for 2014 but it is not ready yet. In our three strongest regions, there have been similar activities under both the European elections and the national elections.
From Stockholm region 2014
In the city of Stockholm managed Green Seniors to get elderly as a priority area and the party there produced an election material that raised the needs of elderly people. At the regional level was not the policy for the elderly a priority. Yet there were written articles in local newspapers about care for the elderly. Vivianne Gunnarsson wrote two articles together with the responsible in Green Party for health care questions.
Green Seniors in the Stockholm region has as usual, been participating in the Green party’s general election campaign in the municipalities. We have highlighted the policy for elderly when campaigning on different places such as, on square meetings, central station info point and touring the municipalities meeting places. We also were at the “longest book table in Sweden” 2 km long at Drottninggatan, Stockholm. Two seniors went to Almedalen, Gotland for several days campaigning under the general policy week there.
In August a seminar was organized by Green Seniors, Stockholm : “What does the elderly want and how to cope with the future care for the elderly in Stockholm?” Speakers were Åke Askensten city councilor, Eivor Karlsson member of the committee for the elderly and Vivianne Gunnarsson, counsilor of the County Council. We advertised in the local press and therefore many came. The seminar was filmed and sent in the local Open Channel TV.
We have put motions and interpellations in the City Council and County council. Written opinion articles, made flyers, leaflets, and developed a local program on care for the elderly.
We have partnered with the local Green Party election coordinator for the elections. We will help with distribution of election propaganda to old people’s homes and to community centers.
Vote in elections to the European Parliament!
The seniors are becoming numerous in Sweden and EUROPE
Your voice can influence! Therefore, it is important that you vote in elections to the EU Parliament. The future belongs to all generations.
The EU Parliament is far away but still concern you!
Decisions within the EU is much more important than most people think. In your municipality 80% of all decisions are dependent on EU directives or regulations. Even questions about medications, health care and personnel’s working hours are issues that are current in the EU.
The Green Party is working towards a sustainable society
This means a society in which environmental, economic and social conditions are in balance in the long term, a society in which all people are involved and can make their voice heard. Green Seniors is an organization within the Green Party. We cooperate with Europe’s Green seniors in ENG’S European Network of Green Seniors for rights of the elderly and participation in decision making on all levels.
We work to see
• that older people’s skills and competences should be a resource in the community
• that every fifth elected at all levels will be over 65 years.
• creation of more differentiated housing arrangements for seniors
• support the healthy parts of life and reduce dependence on medicine
• preserve green areas for recreation
• older people should have the right to open air
• the creation of more venues easily reached for elderly
• pensioners should have the same income development and taxation as other groups
• locally made organic food should be served in the care
• adapting public transport to the needs of elderly people
• facilitate intergenerational meetings