The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the rifts between the various groups in our societies. The divide between the old and young appears to have deepened, as the virus has shown how people of different ages are affected in different ways, not only in terms of mortality, but also in terms of impact on daily life.
The statistics make it clear that COVID-19 has disproportionately affected older people. Some have argued that risk groups should isolate until a vaccine is developed, or at least until the crisis weakens somewhat. From a fundamental rights perspective, however, this action would discriminate against the elderly, people with underlying health conditions, and the disabled, and would divide society into two groups: those who are permitted to move about freely, and those who are not. Tragically, in addition to the health risks posed by COVID-19, the virus also means that more and more older people are suffering the effects of social exclusion and isolation, worsened by the fact that many older people are not comfortable with digital means of communication.
The support demonstrated by so many communities for people who are older and more vulnerable has been up-lifting and reassuring, but this support can only extend so far. How can we ensure that these groups don’t become relegated to second-class citizens? How can governments provide a just and equitable treatment of these groups? What can the rest of us do to help those who are most vulnerable in this crisis?
These questions, and many more, will be tackled by our distinguished speakers during the eighth online event of ELF’s new series – Liberties in Lockdown.
Time: 9:30 – 10:30 (CEST)
Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck, President of Honour, Liberal International
Dragoș Pîslaru, Member of the European Parliament, Renew Europe Group
Anne-Sophie Parent, Secretary General, AGE Platform Europe Secretariat
Ronan Mangan, Policy and Development Coordinator, European Social Network
Opening remarks by:
Daniel Kaddik, Executive Director, European Liberal Forum
This event will be live-streamed on the European Liberal Forum Facebook page.
Organised by the European Liberal Forum.
It’s clear that COVID-19 will reshape our societies, and indeed our lives, in many ways. What will our world look like once the lockdowns have ended and the travel restrictions are lifted? Will we recognise our countries and cities; our neighbourhoods and friends? Will we recognise ourselves? For the next few weeks, each installment of the Liberties in Lockdown series will have a particular focus, looking at, among other things, the economy, digital privacy and healthcare. We hope you can join us for these important discussions.