Ageing, Ageism and the Law
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Ageing, Ageism and the Law

European Perspectives on the Rights of Older Persons

Edited by Israel Doron and Nena Georgantzi

Europe is ageing. However, in many European countries, and in almost all fields of life, older persons experience discrimination, social exclusion, and negative stereotypes that portray them as different or a burden to society. This pivotal book is the first of its kind, providing a rich and diverse analysis of the inter-relationships between ageing, ageism and law within Europe.
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Chapter 4: Legal basis of active ageing: European developments

Barbara Mikołajczyk


The current demographic situation in Europe is the reason why the issue of active ageing has become a subject of interest of both leading European organizations, namely the Council of Europe and the European Union. As they are organizations of integrational character, they may affect the internal policy of Member States towards older citizens. Taking steps aimed at the creation of adequate conditions which would allow older citizens to remain active, independent and in good health for as long as possible appears essential because European States are failing to utilize the potential of older persons adequately, despite economic and social needs. The author is of the opinion that all activities by the above-mentioned organizations in this area should be based on the assumption that older generations do not constitute a burden, but rather that they can contribute significantly to society. Therefore, she focuses on reviewing and assessing the European legal output referring, directly or indirectly, to active ageing from the perspective of human rights law. She also analyses legal instruments preventing age discrimination, promoting intergenerational solidarity as well as awareness of threats posed by ageism. It transpires that both organizations have proposed some interesting solutions in this area, but simultaneously the legal foundations of active ageing which were worked out are deficient, especially in the field of protection against age discrimination and ageism, and they lack a single consolidated strategy for older persons.

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