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Citizenship and Solidarity in the European Union

From the Charter of Fundamental Rights to the Crisis, the State of the Art


Edited By Alessandra Silveira, Mariana Canotilho and Pedro Madeira Froufe

This book attempts to address an important question: where is the European project going?
As Europe struggles with the most profound economic and social crises in recent history, what happens to the promises of freedom, democracy, equality and respect for the inviolable and inalienable rights of the human person proclaimed in the Preamble of the Treaty on European Union? How does the European Union intend to demonstrate its commitment to fundamental social rights at a time of widespread deregulation and an increasingly precarious labour market? How can we further enhance the democratic and efficient functioning of European institutions when there is a growing distance between citizens and political elites?
This publication is based on papers given at the international conference «Citizenship and Solidarity in the European Union – from the Charter of Fundamental Rights to the Crisis: The State of the Art», which took place in the School of Law at the University of Minho, Portugal, in May 2012. The line-up of contributors includes scholars from southern and northern Europe and Brazil, and together the papers constitute a lively and productive debate about the future of Europe.
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Equality in an Economic Crisis. Re-Writing Age Discrimination Legislation (Elaine Dewhurst)



Max Planck Institute

Over the next fifty years, Europe will experience significant change. We are living longer, having fewer children and migration to the EU is decreasing.1 This presents the EU with significant challenges to its development and competitiveness. In fifty years time, 151 million persons in Europe will be over the age of 65,2 reducing the available labour supply to just 20.4 million workers.3 As a result of these demographic trends, the old-age dependency ratio4 is projected to more than double in the EU from 25.4% to 53.5%.5 This will put significant pressure on the economic, development and competitive potential of the EU. Apart from these economic reasons, there are also important social reasons to encourage the full participation and citizenship of older persons in the EU. This older cohort is healthier and more active than ever before and policies, such as active aging and the European Year of Active Aging and Solidarity between the Generations, are certainly useful in encouraging these people to participate fully in society. However, these social and economic benefits of active aging are hampered by significant inequality in the EU.

← 125 | 126 → Age discrimination is one of the most pressing issues facing the EU in the next fifty years, and one which is preventing both economic and social progress and leading to substantial inequality for both younger and older workers alike. Reports have highlighted that age discrimination is the most common ground for complaint6 among...

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