The Greens/EFA in EP Enlarged Bureau Meeting
& European Green Party Council Meeting
Report of ENGS-Workshop „Assistance to Elderly Migrants“
EGP Fringe Meeting – Paris, 10th October 2008 – 13.30 – 15.30 h
Our chairman Tony Cooreman mentioned that one year ago our Green senior colleagues selected 3 subjects as the most important out from our ENGS-Manifesto to be discussed in European workshops. One of this was “Assistance to Elderly Migrants”.
A starting paper of this subject was prepared by Ute Schmitz, our secretary- general.
On Friday we held our Fringe Meeting on this theme.
We were happy to welcome participants from Austria, Belgium, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Romania – amongst them two FYEG-Members.
The workshop was prepared and held by Ute Schmitz (Grüne Alte – Speaker, Germany) and Birgit Meinhard Schiebel (Speaker of Initiative Grüner SeniorInnen – Wien)
We started in Paris with this workshop. It was a lively discussion with promising prospect for the future work on this subject.
We want to mention the summary of the workshop as follows:
1. Important and Essential Questions
a) How can the Greens better understand the varieties and multiple discriminations of elderly migrants?
b) Are there Green policies and campains in European countries to address problems of elderly migrants? And are they sufficient?
c) Do we understand what elderly migrants want? And do we know what our State provides to them in old age?
d) How can our countries benefit of elderly migrants and their concepts of culture?
2. Main Results of Workshop
a) We discussed that elderly migrants face 7 kinds of discrimination which often overlap: race, gender, age, religion, education illitaracy, language and lack of integration.
b) We need to strengthen the legal basis of the international declaration of human rights so that the rights of the elderly in general and immigrants in particular get respected.
c) We need to overcome the problem that elderly migrants tend to get isolated in their homes, outside the reach of the State and the community. This problem will increase with aging societies.
d) Immigration policies operate according to narrow western concepts of “family” (nuclear family = father, mother, 2 children) and extended families get scattered to different countries.
3. Our Comments
a) We need to consult more elderly migrants and also draw more of them to our Green party activities.
b) We need to work together with migrant organisations and recruit more immigrants to public welfare organisations and municipal authorities including social services to assist in intercultural exchange.
c) We need to appreciate also rich cultures that immigrants bring to our societies including respect for elderly people. This will also help to build multicultural aging.
d) Elderly migrants have valuable knowledge and experience which they can transfer to new immigrants in their integration process.
Last but not least: We congratulated the working group on “Green Vision of a Social Policy in Europe” including elderly and concerns of elderly migrants in particular.