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Demography - 19.10.2006

Can Europe take advantage of its demography? (communication of the EU Commission: 12/10)
The European Commission has adopted on 12th October 2006 a communication on the demographic future of Europe, which maps out the initiatives proposed at European level to turn demographic ageing from a challenge to an opportunity.
According to the Commission's figures, the size of the EU's working population is predicted to decrease by 48 million between now and 2050. This would lead to major negative impacts on economic growth and public finances if current policies remained the same. In its communication The demographic future of Europe - from challenge to opportunity, the Commission proposes a common strategy to pro-actively respond to the demographic challenge, based on the five following policy areas:
  • Promoting demographic renewal by developing new family policies;
  • Promoting employment through more job creation and longer working lives;
  • Improving the productivity at work;
  • Developing policies to better receive and integrate migrants;
  • Ensuring that public finances remain sustainable and guarantee adequate social security and equity between generations.
The content of the new Commission's communication will be presented during the first European Demographic Forum, in Brussels on 30-31 October 2006. This forum will also aim to identify and exchange best practices on ageing policies. CEMR has been invited to appoint speakers who will convey the views of local and regional authorities at the various workshops. The Forum is open to the wider participation of local and regional authorities, who can register to the event through the Commission's website.
In the framework of the debate on Europe's demography, the European Commission has also launched a first-stage consultation of the social partners on the issue of reconciling of professional, private and family life. CEMR has been invited to respond to this consultation, as a recognised European sectoral social partner organisation, representing employers in local and regional government, alongside its European trade union counterpart, EPSU.
Background information
The communication The demographic future of Europe - from challenge to opportunity follows up the 2005 green paper entitled Confronting Demographic changes: A new solidarity between generations. In its response to the green paper, the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) called on the European Commission to ensure local and regional involvement in the debate on age-related issues.
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