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Home Social Affairs Senior Citizens Political participation of older people

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Political participation of older people

A key element of Austrian senior citizens' policy is ensuring people's right to have a say in policymaking and creating opportunities for older people to have an equal voice in all issues which affect them.

Austria pursues the principle of a policy which is not created for, but with older people.

The Federal Senior Citizens Act

The Federal Act on the Promotion of the Interests of the Older Generation (Federal Senior Citizens Act, Federal Law Gazette No. 84/1998 of 21.6.1998) brought about the establishment of the Federal Senior Citizens Advisory Council to represent the interests of the older generation vis-à-vis political decision-makers at a national level. At the same time, the ‘General Promotion of Senior Citizens' (the government provides 1 euro for every Austrian and EEA citizen in Austria over 55 (women) or 60 (men)) secures the financing of advice, information and support for senior citizens via the senior citizens' organisations.

Federal Senior Citizens Advisory Council

Recent developments in the structure of the population and demographic changes constitute the greatest social challenges of the coming years and decades. The principle of a policy which is not for but with older people is implemented by means of the Austrian model of participation for older people.

The first step towards strengthening the opportunities for participation of the older generation was made with the passing of the Federal Senior Citizens Act in 1998.

The Federal Senior Citizens Advisory Council was established by the Federal Act on the Promotion of the Interests of the Older Generation (Federal Senior Citizens Act) in 1998.

Since the amendment to the Federal Ministries Act in the year 2000, the Federal Senior Citizens Council has been based in the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection. As provided for by this law, the Federal Senior Citizens Council is deployed as an active control mechanism of senior citizens' and generations policy in Austria.

The tasks of the Federal Senior Citizens Advisory Council include:

  • Making proposals for social, economic, health policy, housing policy and cultural measures in senior citizens' policy
  • The drawing up of a long-term senior citizens' plan including proposals for financing the implementation of the plan
  • Making statements on draft bills and regulations which might affect the interests of senior citizens

The Federal Senior Citizens Advisory Council serves as an institutionalised discussion forum for the dialogue between political decision makers and the representatives of the senior citizens' organisations on issues specific to senior citizens which are of general significance in Austria.

In this way, the Federal Senior Citizens Advisory Council provides senior citizens with an opportunity to bring their concerns and proposals for solutions to the attention of the government via the Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection and thus helps to ensure their right to have a say.

Senior Citizens Council

The amendment of the Federal Senior Citizens Act adopted in 2000 initiated a new era in the representation of senior citizens in Austria: as the umbrella organisation of senior citizens' organisations, the Austrian Senior Citizens Council is the official representative body of older people. The Senior Citizens Council has the same rights as the statutory representative bodies of employees, business people and farmers in all matters which affect older people in Austria.

In this way, the representation of the interests of older people at national level has the same legal rights and status as that of other groups. Senior citizens' rights to co-determination have thus been extended into the following areas:

  • The active design of future senior citizens' policy in Austria
  • The Commission of Experts on Pension Reform
  • The autonomous administration of the social insurance institutions
  • The Advisory Council of the Federation of Austrian Social Insurance Institutions

Senior Citizens Plan

According to Section 11 para. 2 line 2 of the Federal Senior Citizens Act, the tasks of the Federal Senior Citizens Advisory Council include making proposals for social, economic, health policy, housing policy and cultural measures in senior citizens' policy as well as drawing up a long-term senior citizens' plan.