A flash Eurobarometer shows that EU citizens of all ages don’t consider older people to be burden and feel that people who care for dependent relatives don’t get enough support.

A flash Eurobarometer presented yesterday by the European Commission brings a clear picture of EU citizens’s perceptions about the relations between young and older people, who should pay for the increasing costs of pensions and long term care, the contribution of older people to society, who should provide care to the elderly and the role of public authorities promoting better solidarity and cooperation between generations.

“The results of this flash Eurobarometer are striking and show that there are a lot of misperceptions about the needs and aspirations of people of different age groups. The young and the old do care for each other’s well being even if they do not easily agree on what is best for society. This is why we welcome the commitment of the Spanish and Belgian future Presidencies and the European Commission to provide opportunities to discuss how we should reform the way our society is organised to ensure a better future for all”, said Anne-Sophie Parent, Director of AGE-the European Older People’s Platform.

“Family remains the main source of intergenerational solidarity. Families must therefore receive support from national solidarity if they are to fulfill their role. In particular, family policies providing for resources, time and services should be implemented in EU Member States. It is striking that almost two thirds of EU citizens believe that people with a responsibility of care for older family members at home do not receive sufficient support from social services” added Yves Rolland-Gosselin, President of COFACE. “We are pleased that the European Commission will propose that the European Alliance for Families puts a greater focus on exchange of good practices and mutual learning around the issue of family carers.”

“The diversity of European societies must also be mirrored in solidarity between generations, stated the European Women’s Lobby, “and we invite the Member States to mainstream intergenerational solidarity into integration-migration policies, with particular attention to the role of migrant women. This is one means of ensuring that the voices of those excluded from traditional structures are heard as pointed out by MEP Jan Cremers when calling for a revitalized European Social Agenda.”

“It is important that an equal distribution of wealth and opportunities is preserved for all generations, affirmed Tine Radinja, President of the European Youth Forum, young people in Europe face an increasing burden when trying to reconcile their work and family life, working many times under short-term contracts and facing precarious working conditions, while ensuring support of older people in their families.  A fair re-distribution of wealth and responsibilities between generations is needed and therefore an intergenerational debate on the sustainability of pension systems in Europe is crucial.”

All organisations welcomed the announcement made by the European Commission to launch a wide consultation on the proposal to have 2012 declared European year of Active Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity.