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Only if policy-makers stay alert to the signals that citizens are sending will they be able to apply policy that focuses on key priorities and addresses the population's main concerns.
Implementation of active inclusion strategies combining activation, income support and enabling social services is crucial. Links between social assistance and activation should be reinforced. We need to prevent marginalisation and enable everyone to contribute to the economy.
We need to sustain social investment into human capital and social cohesion to avoid much higher costs in the future. Adopting such a longer term perspective is challenging in the current circumstances, especially with the strong pressures being put on public expenditure.
Evidence-based policy-making and adequate scaling-up of successful innovations should help ensure our social protection systems are fit for purpose, sustainable and efficient.
Without decisive actions by the Member States, supported by the Commission, we not only risk an under-supply of care services for an ageing population, but also the vanishing of a precious source of employment for the years to come.
The European Year promotes active ageing in three areas — employment, participation in society, and living independently. In practice it means fostering an active-ageing culture that includes older people, rather than excluding them — a culture that develops their potential rather than focusing on their weaknesses, that empowers instead of patronising them.
Restructuring is a topical issue that affects every country in Europe and a major source of concern in the context of the recession. Not only managing but also anticipating this phenomenon is a crucial element of the new labour market dynamism.
Child poverty and social exclusion is on the rise in many Member States and we need to do more to ensure that poverty is not the reason for removing a child from their family. Welfare policies are essential instruments by helping parents' access to the labour market and supporting adequate living conditions.
Let's not forget that Europe's workforce is a, if not the, major source of growth, and we need to do all we can to ensure that it realises its potential. We need to invest in people's skills, because our present economic crisis in combination with longer-term structural trends necessitates a massive reallocation of human resources within the economy from activities that are not sustainable to those that are.
The issue of economic migration needs to be adequately integrated in these policies and investments since migrants represent an important share of the EU workforce. However, at the EU level, we are still far from a satisfactory valorisation of the available migrant human resources. In addition, Europe remains less attractive than the USA, Canada or Australia when it comes to highly qualified migrants.