In most European countries, electoral rules are such that it is possible to conduct effective advocacy for a cause via a single issue political party. Successful examples include the Green Party and the Pirate Party, but there are many others. In the matter of patient advocacy for investment into rejuvenation research, to treat aging as a medical condition and greatly reduce the suffering that occurs in old age, a number of European advocates have formed single issue political parties to raise awareness. The Party for Health Research in Germany is one such initiative. Here, the European Longevity Initiative is discussed, an alliance of single-issue parties and non-profits across Europe.
There is ample need to communicate fresh facts, principles and arguments around aging research and longevity technology opportunities within the European Union, with the single message that only these new technologies will provide a long-term solution to the problems presented by aging and general health. The last decade yielded a complete change of the paradigm around the understanding of the main hallmarks of aging and the malleability of the overall aging process. Building upon accumulating research in the previous decades, aging research has gone completely mainstream, and the paradigm of translational geroscience has gained strong supporters working on interventions directly targeting the root causes of biological aging to prevent – the biggest killer – age-associated diseases, and to extend healthy lifespan, aka healthspan, significantly.
Cross-European single issue longevity politics has an actual birth date, or rather period, the Members of the European Parliament elections of 2019. That is when multiple actors, in different countries stood at the elections focusing on the issue of working towards preventing age-associated diseases with healthy longevity technologies. Let me highlight here a dedicated, single-issue, one of its kind, political party, the German Party for Health Research and myself who stood as an independent candidate in the East of England Region. We got 0.2% of the votes with an almost zero budget, virtually unknown, meaning 1 in 500 voters thought the mission and programme are worth their votes.
The European Longevity Initiative (ELI) is a loose association of mainly EU citizens and residents coming together to form a healthy longevity advocacy group particularly targeting EU level legislation and EU wide public. Its associates are currently covering the following EU countries: Germany, Slovenia, France, Czech Republic, Belgium, Hungary, Greece, Austria, Poland. Moreover, current ELI associates are representatives of at least six existing European longevity advocacy groups. (1) The already-mentioned German The Partei für Gesundheitsforschung – The Party for Health Research; (2) LongevityForum.eu, funded by longevity supporters in the Czech Republic; (3) UK-based Longevity International running the pioneering All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Longevity in the UK; (4) International Institute of Longevity based in Poland and Liechtenstein; (5) Društvo za vitalno podaljševanje življenja Slovenije – Slovenian society for vital life extension; (6) Heales Société pour l’Extension de la Vie – The Healthy Life Extension Society, based in Belgium.