Magazine article European Social Policy

Demographic Challenges : Commission Considers Drafting New Communication

Magazine article European Social Policy

Demographic Challenges : Commission Considers Drafting New Communication

Article excerpt

The European Commission is deliberating over the necessity of drafting a new communication on demographic challenges - an idea put forward by the Commissioner for Social Affairs, Laszlo Andor. During the meeting of the College of Commissioners, on 13 July, some suggested opting instead for a more thorough integration of demographic questions into other policies.

Nevertheless, during the informal meeting of ministers of employment and social affairs, on 7 July, Andor announced that by autumn he would publish an "update" of the 2006 strategy on the demographic future of Europe. The Hungarian commissioner came to sell this idea to his colleagues, insisting that while the 2006 strategy is still valid, it is clear that results are mitigated and that there is a lamentable decline in terms of birth rates, employment and public finances - namely because of the crisis. Moreover, Andor stressed that the economic dependency ratio had reached a turning point and highlighted the impact of the crisis on the pension and health care systems, as well as on immigration.

Having made these remarks, the commissioner said he wished to make the most of the European Year 2012 of Active Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity to make the necessary adjustments, take into account the new realities and consider the various possible solutions. Andor is calling for new measures in terms of: 1. promotion of investments and innovative steps to stimulate employment and services linked to ageing; 2. immigration to compensate for the lack of labour in some sectors, such as information technology and health care, and better integration of migrants; 3. mobility, whilst ensuring that this does not increase disparities between member states; and 4. family policies - families have an important role to play in birth rates and the participation of women in the labour market, but are also the first to be affected by budgetary consolidation policies. …

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