Policy for Older and Disabled People

  • Linda Hantrais


The emphasis placed on workers’ rights in the Community’s and Union’s Treaties and Charter signalled that European social policy was only indirectly concerned with categories of the population who did not gain entitlements to social protection as active members of the labour force. Whereas the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community (EEC) [1.2], and in later years the Single European Act (SEA) [1.5] and the Maastricht Treaty on European Union [1.6], made no reference to older or disabled people, the Community Charter of the Fundamental Social Rights of Workers [1.7], which was not legally binding, included a statement of European policy for these two potentially disadvantaged categories of former or would-be workers. As with family policy (see Chapter 5), demographic factors explain why older people have been placed on the social policy agenda. By the early 1990s one of the major challenges facing the Union was how to prepare for the demographic imbalance predicted for the twenty-first century and associated issues such as intergenerational equity and the social integration of older and disabled people. Policy makers were faced with the problems of ensuring funding for pensions and the provision of adequate and effective social services in a context where many of the premises on which welfare states had been founded were being called into question.


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© Linda Hantrais 1995

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  • Linda Hantrais

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