Letter to the EGP

Following the fringe meeting in Antwerp we wrote a letter to the Chairs of the European Green Party as well as its Secretary General. The contents of the letter is self-evident – we remind this Party of young that the elderly also matter. At least they are crucial for the success of Green Parties, in EU Parliament elections and also in national elections.



Monica Frassoni and Reinhard Bütikofer, Chairpersons of the EGP

Mar Garcia, Secretary General of the EGP


Dear Chairs and dear Secretary General,

During the latest EGP Council meeting, 19 May 2018 in Antwerpen, the European Network of Green Seniors (ENGS) arranged a fringe meeting under title ”How to inspire more elderly to vote Green in the EU elections”. Frank Hauser, our Secretary General, presented the situation in certain Member States in most recent European elections. The presentation as well as the notes on the discussion after that can be found from ENGS site http://www.greenseniors.eu/.

The situation in all Member States seems to be similar: the young vote more eagerly for the Greens, while the elderly seem to choose other Parties. And this is not enough: in almost all Member States the population is ageing, and the demographic trend continues in the future. These trends reinforce each other and together they are dangerous for the Green movement.

We urge that this development will be taken seriously. This means that in addition to the young EGP as well as the Green Parties in all Member States should address also the seniors and stress issues important for them. There are plenty of them, and main part of them was also mentioned in the seminar mentioned above. We list these subjects here:

−  sufficient pensions,
−  economy, in particular old age poverty,
−  accommodation and neighbourhood,
−  mobility,
−  discrimination of the elderly (as early as from 45 – 50 years) in the job market,
−  passing of experience – life-long learning,
−  voluntary work,
−  access to health care – at home, nursing home or hospital?
−  assistance to elderly migrants,

−  generation policy empowered by both young and old.

If needed, ENGS would be happy to help EGP in these endeavours.

With best regards

Stockholm 28 July 2018

Vivianne Gunnarsson
Vice chair of the ENGS vivianne.gunnarsson@sll.se +46 70 3520355

Frank Hauser
Secretary General of the ENGS hauser@hauserfrank.de +49 221 56933526

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Losing Elections by losing the elderly Voters

Frank Hauser in ENGS fringe meeting during the EGP Council in Antwerp 19 May 2018

Facts and Data about an alarming and forgotten problem

In 2019 we will have the next European elections. We are of course close to elderly voters in Europe and each of us in our home countries.

We – The Green Movement – are on a way to loose political influence in Europe by losing voters aged over 60.

The results of 2014 have already been a real disaster without causing any reaction, change of policies or election campaigning. Three examples without having chosen the worst. Austria, Germany and Sweden.


In Austria 26 % of the voters aged under 29 voted Greens, still 14 % from 30 to 59. But only 6 % over 60 years.



In Germany around 11 % of all voters made it Green. Around 7 % between 60 and 70. Over 70 years it fell to depressing 3 %. Newer national and regional elections in Germany show that this development is increasing.

In Sweden we had a great success in 2014 by 15,14 %. There 23 % of the young (18-21 years) voted for Greens, but only 10 % of the voters over 64 took Greens as their choice.

The demographic changes in Europe make this problem bigger and not smaller.

And the effect is even higher if you take into consideration that elderly people take part on elections to a far higher percentage than the group of the people under the age of 50.

We would like to invite you to a discussion how you see this and what can be a solution.

From our point of view we need immediate action.

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How to inspire more elderly to vote Green in the EU elections NGS in Antwerp – our fringe meeting

Reino Lampinen 

ENGS Fringe Meeting in Antwerp 19 May 2018

Altogether 17 people attended the meeting, 12 visitors both from international and EGP organisations as well from national Green associations. Also six ENGS Board members were present.

From left: Birgit Meinhard, Frank Hauser, Christa Möller, Vivianne Gunnarsson, Reino Lampinen, Kris Fierens

From left: Birgit Meinhard, Frank Hauser, Christa Möller, Vivianne Gunnarsson, Reino Lampinen, Kris Fierens

 Seminar was opened by ENGS vice-chair Vivianne Gunnarsson. She presented our association and the members of the Board.

Our Secretary General Frank Hauser had prepared a slide show under title Losing Elections by losing the elderly Voters. The slides can be found separately on this site.

After the presentation we had a lively discussion. The audience acknowledged the situation also in other countries than the three examples by Frank. It is necessary to build argumentation on facts. Therefore we must look for reports on election results among different age groups in Europe. Statistics shall be used to make people aware of the situation.


Trends are European-wide, even global: the share of elderly in the population is rising. Simultaneously people tend to become more conservative with age. This change in values can be found in other areas, too. In Germany 80-90 per cent of people with conservative values say they are worried of the refugees, while only 30 per cent of Greens share this view.

These developments are a serious threat for the Green policy and the Green parties throughout Europe. The older generations vote more eagerly than the young and are more conservative. With bigger share of seniors we get ever more conservative decision makers for municipal councils, national and regional parliaments and the EP.

What is needed is a Green policy that takes into account this mathematics: the Greens cannot prosper if they only concentrate on the issues concerning the young: education, children care, mothers etc. Issues like the environment, global change, democracy, gender questions etc. interest all age groups but also issues and problems of the elderly must be put on the table.

It was a general notion that the elderly are feeling unwanted in the Green movement.

The Greens tend to choose young leaders for themselves. Is this really the best approach for the Greens as a Party? It is important for all age groups to be recognised at least as candidates, even if it is more likely that the elderly elect more mature leaders.  Maybe women with experience can attract more than one group. This is at least an experience from Sweden.

The perception of age has changed. This change follows the fact that more people than before are needed in the job market in order to finance the care of the growing share of the “really” old. Now 40’s are considered to be “hippies”, and today many of them have small babies. People aged 60 or more are considered “seniors”. Old “middle-aged” from 40 to 50 fall there between and do not belong to either of those groups.

Many Greens choose to work with only one question, today for instance refugees or climate.

The climate change is important, of course, but not the only issue to be worried about. The social issues are also important and in many countries the Green party has been more interested in the social issues than in the environment and ecology.

Media was also mentioned: they often are not very interested in general on the elderly, e.g. the social work for the elderly, neither on the social or voluntary work done by the elderly. Today voluntary work is not valued as there are more cheap workers. Communication tends to be focused on young people.

Greens must be friendlier towards all people. We do a lot of for elderly but we don´t communicate this in the right way. Benefits for elderly must be more accurately communicated to get more voters for the Greens. Our message must be something that attracts, something to express happiness. We need a positive discussion with assumed voters – we must communicate in a positive way what we have done so far.

A generation policy would attract more young and elderly. Voters need someone who is going to support their interests in policy and it probably must be somebody they feel affiliated with. Young and old need each other – we must communicate a generation policy.

Finally, Vivianne presented the items in the focus of the ENGS:

-       no discrimination for the elderly in job market

-       passing of experience – lifelong learning

-       sufficient pensions

-       voluntary work

-       access to health care – dying with dignity

-       mobility

She asked the audience for ideas to develop our activity. She also asked what makes people happy or for what they are concerned.


The audience mentioned first mobility – everyone, both young and old, in job life, in school, in parental leave or in pension, needs good and moderately priced mobility. On the other hand there is a contradiction: when Greens try to reduce the role of car in cities many elderly don´t agree. They feel that their needs are underrated because the private car is the means for their mobility.

Greens must find ways to explain better that they are not against all forms of car travels. A car can also be part of public transport if subscribed and shared.

Mobility has a link to participation in the society. Without good transport possibilities many seniors are more inactive than they want.

Neighbourhoods are important for happiness. Good results have been achieved with experiments of mixing young and old to support each other, for instance to live in the same premises to help each other with cooking, care of children and the old and other daily matters.

The representative of Slovenia mentioned pensioners’ party in her country – it has been permanently in the Government with its c. 10 per cent share of votes.

Promise of better pension works – at least in some countries with very low incomes.

To sum up: we listen to you and to your needs, we want to make a difference and make it together with you.

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European Green Council Antwerpen starts with Campaign



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Minutes from ENGS Fringe Meeting Karlstad 2017





Karlstad 26 November 2017

Reino Lampinen


ENGS Fringe Meeting 25 November 2017 from 14.30 to 16.15

No Discrimination in the Job Market

Altogether 16 people attended the meeting, 10 visitors and 5 ENGS Board members (Vivianne Gunnarsson, Frank Hauser, Birgit Meinhardt, Kris Fierens and Reino Lampinen) and as guest: Stefan Nilsson, member of the national Parliament of Sweden and a member of the Parliaments social and health committee.

Seminar was opened by ENGS vice-chair Vivianne Gunnarsson. As an introduction she showed slides covering the main issuesincluding

− statistics on employment and unemployment by age and different countries
− European employment strategy, targets and initiatives.

Discrimination of elderly in the job market has not been really highlighted by the EU or EGP. Vivianne stated that in EU pillar of social rights only one of four main titles includes age. Also the EGP resolution adopted in Liverpool only touches the discrimination of elderly.

Stefan Nilsson, Sweden, MNP member of national parliament continued on a Swedish study on reasons for discrimination in the job market. Disability was found to be the main reason for discrimination while the high age is the second important. There are also differences in the interaction between age groups. He recommended that at least in Sweden word “årsrika” (“rich in years”) should be used instead of “elderly”. The age limit 55 as a reason for the unemployment of the elderly is gradually moving towards 45 years – ever younger have great difficulties to get a new job if unemployed.

The continuously rising share of pensioners of population and rising numbers of unemployed people both lead to problems in financing pensions. There are differences between countries. From audience: there are great differences even between regions inside a country – between rural areas and cities.

Nilsson also remarked that the Swedes get every day 3,5 h more living age – that means 1 h/week or 52 h/year, i.e. more than two days more living age every year!

In Sweden there is already flexibility in the pension system. The more you work and the more you earn the bigger pension you get. It is possible to get a pension at 61 or you can wait until 65, the general pension age, but you also have the right to work until 67. A new pension agreement will probably enter into force from 2018. The pension age will then be 66 years and in 2020 it will be raised to 67 years with the right to stay until 68 respective 69 with the same employer. Public employees, both governmental and community employees, must have reached 30 years of service for a full pension.

There is at the same time lack of jobs and lack of workforce. From the audience: maybe more demand of experienced folk.

Frank Hauser: when the age increases, then the years of unemployment lengthen for those who are unemployed. This is dramatic for those who know that at 50 years they’ll have next 15 to 25 years of poverty. One reason for unemployment for the elderly is the wage level: the elderly request 25-30 €/h when the young may be ready to work for 10 €/h.

From the audience (UK): solution would be minimum basic income. Old women are a huge resource for the society even if they are not paid. From Sweden: the pension for public sector workers is very close to the poverty line in the EU. (which is about 1400 Euro). Also in these cases the solution would be minimum pension. Discussion of basic income is more ore less dead in Sweden although many green party members still want to put it in place.

Information of trials on basic income:

− In Finland a trial is going on. For 2 years, 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2018, a 560 € a monthly basic income will be paid for 2000 unemployed people without conditions or substitute. The trial will be lead by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland. It selected the group as a random sample from unemployed people. A follow-up study will be done 2019. This 2000 person group will be compared to a group of other unemployed persons, in total 173 000. This study will look at e.g. the difference in employment between these two groups during and after the trial.
− In Netherlands different cities test different models.
− Also GEF (Green European Foundation) is studying different models for minimum basic income.

From the audience: The pension age should be adjusted accordingto the heaviness of the work – heavy work, lower pension age. Today the work might be more stressing even when the work is not physically so heavy. So the heaviness here covers also stressing mental jobs. This stress might cover also nurses, teachers etc. There is also need for pension at very low age due to illnesses. As a conclusion: chronological age is not a good basis for pension.

There are big differences in the minimum pension age: even from 50 to 55 in some Mediterranean countries. Even bigger differences between continents if you think of e.g. Africa!

Older workers and their experience are also a threat on the employer: they might know better than their younger bosses. But a positive remark: wisdom and experience of the elderly might be asked for in the future!

Finally we had a lengthy discussion on voluntary work: is it always really voluntary? Grandmothers helping 3 or 10 grandchildren? Pensioners helping their parents?

Frank: Voluntary work makes poor! It means that a paid work will be replaced by “voluntary” unpaid or very poorly paid work. If an unemployed person works voluntarily, her/his pension won’t improve.

Some more reflections by the participants:

− Should we take voluntary work, its definition and its impact on the job market, paid compensation or “salary” and pensions as a title for forthcoming fringe meetings.
− Ethnologists are wondering: during the stone-age people didn’t work more than 6 hours/day. What have we done wrong when we now have to work more?
− Would security be a theme for future sessions? It should be certain that one would live decently on the wage and the pension.


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Why is it important?

We all need the right of water. Around 1,8 Million people in Europe had fight as NGO for it. Now the EU Commison had founded some guidelines for right of water. Because water is one of the vital ressources for live quality. We as elderly generation have also to fight for this right, because we and next generations could not live without  clean and free water. This right is also on the agenda of „Social pillars“.





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Generations, Intergenerational Relations Compendium in 17 languages

The members of the International Network for the Analysis of Intergenerational Relations (Generationes) proudly present the most recent issue of the jointly produced compendium “Generations, Intergenerational Relations and Generational Policy”.

This new version includes 17 languages: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish, Hungarian, Turkish, Romanian, Lithuanian, Slovenian (new), Bosnian (new), Ukrainian (new), Russian (new) and Chinese (new).

The layout of the compendium is designed for using it to translate the specific concepts and terminology of research on generations and intergenerational relations from one language into another.

The online version can be downloaded from our website:

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Austrian Grandmas fighting against „Neo Nazis“


Austrians have taken refugees into their homes. But the new far-right government would like to move refugees out of the community and into concentrated centres, which protestors argue recalls a darker time in Austria’s history….Austrian Grandmas fighting against Neo Nazis


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UN – 1.10.2017 Day of older person


UN Calls for harnessing one of the world’s greatest untapped resources – older persons

This year, older persons around the world are celebrating the United Nations International Day of Older Persons, by looking to the future and underscoring their vital role in it. Today, there are 962 million older persons worldwide, who are projected to outnumber youth by 2030, the target date for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is undeniable that global ageing has become a mega-trend that is clearly going to have a significant impact on the road to the achievement of the SDGs, which necessitates the inclusion of older persons and harnessing their untapped potential in the process.

This year’s theme “Stepping into the Future: Tapping the Talents, Contributions and Participation of Older Persons in Society” is about enabling and expanding the contributions of older people in various aspects of social, cultural, economic and civic and political life, in accordance with older persons’ basic rights, needs and preferences.

The official commemorative event will take place at UN Headquarters in New York on 5 October 2017 and is organized by the NGO Committee on Ageing in partnership with UN DESA Focal Point on Ageing, and sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Argentina.

The event will include a panel discussion to showcase cutting-edge research, age-related technological innovations, and models of civic involvement and entrepreneurship of older persons. It will also feature the official launch of Highlights of the 2017 World Population Ageing report.

The commemoration will be broadcasted live via UN Web TV. To follow the conversation via social media, the online audience is encouraged to use the hashtags #UNIDOP and #60Plus.

For more information: International Day of Older Persons 2017

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NGO Forum and Ministerial Conference on Ageing Lissabon 2017

Birgit Meinhard-Schiebel, from Carers’ Organisation Austria participated in the UNECE NGO Forum on Ageing, held on 20 September 2017, in Lisbon, Portugal. The Forum preceded the UNECE Ministerial Conference on Ageing (21-22 September 2017).

About the UNECE NGO Forum on Ageing

The objective of the NGO Forum is to foster a dialogue in and among civil society organisations representing older persons and dealing with ageing issues around the 3 themes of the UNECE Ministerial Conference on Ageing 2017 from different angles of concern of civil society actors, to identify strong and weak aspects in the MIPAA implementation and Ministerial Declaration, and to formulate demands and recommendations on behalf of civil society organisations.

About the UNECE Ministerial Conference on Ageing

The conference completes the third review and appraisal cycle (2012-2017) of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing and its Regional Implementation Strategy (MIPAA/RIS). The focus is on ‘Realizing the potential of living longer’. Conference panels addressed this theme through the lens of:

  1. Recognizing the potential of older persons
  2.  Encouraging longer working life and ability to work
  3. Ensuring ageing with dignity

The Ministerial Conference on Ageing is organized by UNECE in cooperation with the Government of Portugal, under the coordination of the Ministry of Labour, Solidarity, and Social Security.


Background (FRE

In 1982, the First World Assembly on Ageing took place in Vienna (Austria). Twenty years later, in April 2002, the Second World Assembly adopted the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA), a global normative frame for responding to the opportunities and challenges of population ageing. The same year in September, the UNECE member States took a step further and at the Berlin Conference endorsed the Regional Implementation Strategy (RIS) for the MIPAA that included a set of measures and actions grouped under ten commitments.

At the onset of the MIPAA, it was agreed to carry out a review and appraisal of its implementation every five years at both regional and global levels. In 2007, the UNECE Ministerial Conference in León (Spain) concluded the review and appraisal of the first five-year cycle of the MIPAA/RIS and in its Ministerial Declaration re-endorsed the ten commitments of the RIS.

In 2012, the UNECE Ministerial Conference in Vienna completed the second review and appraisal exercise at the regional level. The Vienna Ministerial Declaration with its four goals endorsed the concept of active ageing. The third review and appraisal exercise commenced in 2016 with countries preparing their national reports and was completed with the UNECE Ministerial Conference in September 2017 in Lisbon, Portugal.

Access the UNECE Policy Brief on Ageing here .


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