Around three million people in Bavaria are older than 60 years. Their concerns should be heard more at all political levels. However, the CSU and Freie Wahler are also met with massive criticism with their draft law.
Munich (dpa / lby) - With the establishment of a state senior citizens' council in Bavaria, the participation opportunities for senior citizens are to be improved. On Wednesday, the CSU and Free Voters in the state parliament presented the draft of the Senior Citizens' Participation Act, which is now to be decided first by the cabinet and after the summer break by the state parliament. The two governing parties had already agreed on the proposed legislation in their 2018 coalition agreement.
In Kern, therefore, all communities should set up a voluntary senior citizen representation - but there is no obligation to do so in the law. For the representation of senior citizens' interests at state level, the said state senior citizens' council is created. Its members are the representatives of the senior citizens' representations of the 2056 district-free and district-affiliated communities and the 71 districts. The maximum number of members is around 4300 people.
On the one hand, the State Council for Senior Citizens should advise the state parliament and state government on issues relating to senior citizen policy and, on the other hand, support the local level. According to the key points presented, a state assembly and an eight-member board of directors are also to be formed. These bodies are to take the place of the Bavarian State Senior Citizens' Representation (LSVB).
"Around three million people in the Free State are over 60 years old. They all have the right to be heard and to be taken seriously with their needs and concerns," said the socio-political spokeswoman for the Free Voters Group, Susann Enders.
"With our Seniors' Participation Act, it was our central concern to preserve the existing structures on site. That's why we deliberately rely on voluntariness in the communities," said the socio-political spokesman for the CSU parliamentary group, Thomas Huber.
The LSVB reacted to the legislative plans with great disappointment: "This draft law does not strengthen the rights of senior citizens, but reduces them. There are no reliable, i.e. real opportunities for influence and participation rights for older people. These would be the prerequisites for real political participation, but apparently is not wanted," said the chairman of the LSVB, Franz Wölfl. He also pointed out that there was already a state council for senior citizens in Bavaria until 2010, but this was abolished in 2010 due to "ineffectiveness".
Social Minister Ulrike Scharf (CSU) cannot share the criticism. With the new law, "we are deliberately strengthening the tried-and-tested existing structures". In particular, she emphasized that the state senior citizens' council would be a new body anchored in the municipalities.