Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Europe, China Promote Dialogue on Demographic Aging

On a visit to China, Vladimír Špidla, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, signed an European Union-China agreement to promote policy dialogue on issues of common interest and on long-term challenges in employment and social policy, such as demographic ageing. The agreement--or Memorandum of Understanding--sets up a structured dialogue with China's top think tank--the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences--on future policy challenges in areas such as employment, social security, demography, social dialogue and labour relations.
Another huge problem that China is only now beginning to confront - and which Europe knows plenty about - is an ageing population.

As a result of its "one family, one child" policy and of the fact that richer Chinese now live longer, the life expectancy rate of Chinese men has now risen to 71.3 years, compared with 63.2 years in India.

The EU has so far provided 20 million euros ($28.8 million) in funds, as well as technical assistance and training of civil servants, to help China modernize its pension system.

Such help is not entirely free of self-interest, however. If Chinese workers were granted better pensions and more rights, for instance, this would limit "social dumping" - a term used to describe a country's ability to export cheap products by enforcing only weak labour standards.
Sources: European Commission News Release (January 11, 2008); NDTV "EU advises China on welfare, labour laws" (January 13, 2008); People's Daily "Aging society a common challenge for EU and China" (January 15, 2008);

No comments: