Monday, October 16, 2006

Europe: European Commission Issues Communication on Aging Workforce

According to a Communication from the European Commission, Europe's ageing population is an unprecedented challenge for the whole of society, but it is a challenge to which Europe must rise to, and must rise to it now. "The demographic future of Europe --– from challenge to opportunity" stresses that this challenge underlines the ability of member states to meet the challenges of a shrinking workforce and an ageing population, and it suggests that the keys to success are the promotion of demographic renewal, more jobs and longer working lives, higher productivity, integrating migrants and sustainable public finances.

In particular, the Communication sets out five areas for concrete action to help states adapt to demographic change in their own national context:
  • Helping people to balance work, family and private life so that potential parents can have the number of children they desire;
  • Improving work opportunities for older people;
  • Increasing potentially productivity and competitiveness by valuing the contributions of both older and younger employees;
  • Harnessing the positive impact of migration for the job market
  • Ensuring sustainable public finances to help guarantee social protection in the long-term.
According to Vladimír Špidla, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, "It is important that member states give a strong signal to businesses and citizens to change their expectations and attitudes, particularly in the labour market."

Source: Commission of the European Communities News Release (October 12, 2006)

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