European Parliament group discusses Silver Economy

The European Parliament’s Intergroup on Public Services and Common Goods has teamed up with the Intergroup subgroup on Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations to hold a conference on the silver economy and its link to public services. The silver economy compounds all public and private goods and services that can help to address demographic ageing. It is a chance for the European economy if it develops in a way to encourage the development of the silver economy. During the debate, questions have been raised relative to the role of EU funding, the ownership of Silver Economy policies by local authorities, the values and challenges of the ageing workforce, especially in the public sector such as health care and the promotion of innovations for active and healthy ageing. AGE presented the Silver Economy Awards, for which applications are currently open.

The Intergroup on Public Services and Common Goods is a group of members of the European Parliament seeking to promote the values and the importance of public services. It collaborated with the Intergroup subgroup on Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations for this workshop in Brussels to look at the chances and challenges of the Silver Economy for public services and services in general.

Challenges and opportunities of the Silver Economy

Mr Becker and Mr Denanot, chairs of both intergroups, opened the discussion highlighting the need to think of people ageing up to 100 years and more, and the need to design public services in a way to accommodate this positive new reality. The Silver Economy could help in developing services and goods that enable people to age healthily and actively – and at the same time provide employment and growth.

Ettore Marchetti of the European Commission highlighted the work of the Commission in mapping the living conditions of older persons, such as in the Active Ageing Index and the Ageing Reports. Other initiatives are encouraging member states to engage in research and innovations to active ageing, such as the European Innovation Partnership for Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP-AHA), or the Senior Tourism Initiative. Hélène Pauliat of the association EUROPA from Limoges, France presented the legal requirements to enable the silver economy. She especially insisted on the necessity to give local and regional authorities the ownership and competence, but also the financial resources to build age-friendly communities. She also highlighted the challenges posed by e-Health solutions to privacy and the related ethical questions that need further public debate. Elisabetta Zanon of the United Kingdom’s National Health Service presented an employer’s view on ageing, both as a provider of services and as an organisation faced with a rapidly ageing workforce. She insisted on the role of social dialogue to find solutions to keep services up and running at a high quality. Nick Guldemond of the Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands, stressed the importance of changing paradigms to fully embrace a vision of active and healthy ageing.

Silver Economy Awards and Call for Papers

AGE Platform Europe intervened in the debate in stressing the importance of legislation to accompany the shift towards older consumers: the horizontal non-discrimination directive and the European Accessibility Act challenge providers of goods and services, but this is to enable them to seek innovative solutions to the ageing of society.

In order to promote innovations, AGE is a partner in a project that promotes the Silver Economy Awards. Until 15 November applications are open to public authorities, non-for-profit organisations and for-profit organisations to present their solutions in the following categories: Housing, outdoor spaces and buildings; mobility, tourism and leisure; health and long-term care; well-being, prevention and self-care; civic participation, social participation, communication and information; employment, education and training; consumer goods and services. Each application will be evaluated by peers and the winners will be determined in May 2018.

The European Commission announced the organisation of a seminar together with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe to look at the Active Ageing Index. Interested researchers can express their interest to contribute with academic articles.

Mr Lambert Van Nistelrooij, Member of the European Parliament, closed the meeting insiting on the necessity to look at the urban-rural divide to ensure that the Silver Economy leaves no-one behind.

The minutes of the meeting are available here.

Further information:

You may also contact Philippe Seidel, AGE Policy and EP Liaison Officer:

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