High level government expert group meets for first time to advise on policies to manage Europe's ageing population
A high level group of government experts set up to assist the European Commission in developing policies to tackle Europe's ageing population and shrinking workforce, had its inaugural meeting in Brussels yesterday.
Made up of representatives from all Member States, as well as a small number of independent experts, the group is headed by the former Austrian Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Leonora Hostasch.
“There is no reason for Europe to fear the ageing of its populations provided we prepare in time
Vladimír Špidla, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities
Opening the inaugural meeting, Vladimír Špidla, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities welcomed the group saying: "There is no reason for Europe to fear the ageing of its populations provided we prepare in time. Active ageing will have an important impact on our social services and economy. The elderly will become an ever more important market force. The "silver economy" opens up new possibilities for services and products. I believe we have a window of opportunity over the next ten years and this high level Group will support our efforts to prepare policies that fit in with Europe's new demographic order".
The Group's role is to advise the Commission on the monitoring of demographic change and the implementation of the policy guidelines set out in the Commission's 2006 communication on demography. Through the group, Member States will also be able to express their opinions on the broad responses required to meet Europe's demographic challenge, as well as on specific initiatives.