Brussels, 22 June 2012
EPSCO Council meeting, 21 June 2012
EU Council supports active participation of all generations
“Demographic change is bringing major challenges for Member States’ welfare systems, public finances and labour markets”, highlights Anne-Sophie Parent, AGE Secretary-General. “These challenges are compounded by the ongoing and worsening economic crisis and its political and social impacts, in particular in southern Europe. In order to go some way to mitigating these problems, the EU needs to invest in its human capital of all generations and to foster longer and flexible working lives as well as life-long learning opportunities for women and men.”
AGE welcomes the EPSCO Council Conclusions of 21 June 2012 and, in particular, their recognition that “raising awareness of the ageing process is essential to understanding intergenerational solidarity and enabling mutual exchange of experience between generations” and that “Solidarity between Generations means inter alia that everyone - young and old – is expected to and must have the chance to actively participate in our European societies.” This resonates strongly with the political objectives of European Year 2012 for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations (EY2012) and the work that AGE is doing with the EY2012 Stakeholder Coalition to encourage policy makers at all levels to take concrete actions towards creating an age-friendly EU and ensuring a lasting legacy of what is being achieved during the EY2012.
However, and although progress have been made through pension system reforms and measures to reconcile work, family and private life, further institutional and policy changes are needed to improve gender equality, maintain intergenerational solidarity and avoid placing unreasonable demands on future generations. As Ms Parent points out, “Policies to increase the labour market participation of older people, in particular women, are essential and should include the facilitation of longer and healthier working lives through better age management in workplaces, the investment in adequate competences and skills, the creation of safer and more flexible conditions, as well as non-discrimination policies to eliminate ageism and gender inequalities in the workplace.”
AGE work on active ageing: http://www.age-platform.eu/en/age-policy-work/employment-and-active-ageing