Discrimination of the elderly is a growing problem in Europe due to ageing, emphasised Deputy Ombudswoman and Equinet Chair, Tena Šimonović Einwalter, in her opening speech at the international seminar on „Tackling ageism and age discrimination against older people“, held in Berlin on 27-28 June, organised by Equinet and AGE Platform Europe.

Šimonović Einwalter then pleaded for combating discrimination against the elderly first of all in the working environment and employment but also in numerous other spheres of living, since age discrimination is perceived as less serious problem compared to some other discrimination grounds. Baseless negative perception of the capacities of older people frequently presents an obstacle for their participation in social life.

– Although the European legal framework guarantees the equality of all persons before the law and forbids age discrimination in the area of work and employment, it is worrisome that according to some data, majority of citizens consider the age of 55 or more to be the biggest obstacle for employment, said Šimonović Einwalter and added: “Therefore, it is of utmost importance to continue working on the adoption of the “EU non-discrimination Horizontal Directive” which would extend the protection against age discrimination in the EU law also in the areas of social security, education, health care, housing and access to goods and services”.

Apart from discrimination in the area of work, the seminar discussed the access to financial services and insurance since the older persons more frequently cannot realise their rights due to digitalisation of such services and the age limit imposed on the users of special packages. Hence, poverty and marginalisation make it difficult for older persons to fully enjoy their rights thus it is important to work more at the grass root level in providing information and giving them opportunities to live an active life and contribute to their communities.