Emerging EU Silver Economy Strategy makes first steps towards an inclusive society fulfilling needs and rights of ageing population in Europe

Brussels, 29th May 2015

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As official partner of the Summit on Innovation for Active and Healthy Ageing, AGE Platform Europe warmly welcomes the launch of the Silver Economy Strategy which will seek to coordinate action to build a more inclusive EU respecting the needs and rights of ageing population.

As highlighted in the report Innovation for Active and healthy Ageing just released by the European Commission, the Silver Economy offers many new opportunities to create jobs and growth, improve the sustainability of healthcare and social protection systems and empower older people to live longer in good health “to ensure that every individual – irrespective of age – can contribute to our future” as Commissioner Oettinger, responsible for the digital economy and society, said during the opening of the March Summit.

The Strategy on Silver Economy seeks to coordinate EU action to build a more inclusive society. “The Silver Economy covers new market opportunities arising from public and consumer expenditure related to the rights, needs and demands of the (growing) population over 50” stated Paul Timmers, Director at DG CNECT.

This Strategy builds on the achievements of the ongoing European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP-AHA), where governments, health and care authorities, civil society and industry are working across borders to scale up innovation and increase the number of Healthy Life Years.

The important distinction between “additional life years” and “healthy life years” is made in the European Commission’s Ageing Report 2015. Whilst ageing per se has a significant effect on expenditure growth, much depends on whether gains in life expectancy are spent in good or bad health. So, if most of the additional life years are healthy life years, the additional cost burden from ageing can be lowered significantly.

“The Silver economy is not only a way of promoting economic growth and prosperity but also of creating a society for all ages where nobody is left behind”, stressed Anne-Sophie Parent, Secretary General of AGE Platform Europe. This strategy is a first positive step towards a better coordination of EU policies led by different Directorate Generals and will hopefully ensure that the emerging silver economy will fulfill the needs and promote the fundamental rights of our ageing population.

To continue contributing to the development of that strategy, the Council of European Municipalities and Regions and AGE Platform Europe are organising a debate on “Silver Economy and the regions, what can they do?” The event will be held in the Committee of the Regions on 14th October (14:00) in the framework of the Open Days and of the AFE-INNOVNET thematic network. It will involve local and regional authorities as well as the European Commission and will seek to highlight innovative initiatives taken by local and regional authorities to respond to the demographic challenges they face.

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