Sunday, February 17, 2008

Europe: Economic Affairs Commissioner Addresses Summit on Demographic Crunch

Economic Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia is warning that European society is at risk of losing its dynamism if it does not develop a coherent approach to an ageing population and decreasing workforce. He spoke at a oned-day summit Friends of Europe conference entitled "Europe's looming demographic crunch". The Friends of Europe says this crunch will be felt dramatically in the years to come, as by 2050, 30% of the population will be over 65 and only two people of working age for each
pensioner.

In his address--"Investing in the future: an agenda for addressing Europe's Demographic Challenge", Alumnia identified the decreasing share of the working age population as a "major factor" influencing stuttering economic prospects. Thus, one prong of the strategies that European states must adopt is to raise employment rates, especially among women and older workers.
The best way forward is to promote flexible working arrangements where employment security for workers is provided by adequate skills. Such a flexicurity approach will help modernise European labour markets and ensure that people have access to employment throughout their working lives. The success of this model relies on active labour policies combined with good education and training systems that allow people to gain new skills whether they are 16 or 60.
Sources: EurActive "Almunia warns of looming demographic crunch in Europe" (February 5, 2008); Friends of Euroipe Press Release (January 31, 2008)

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