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Demographic developments and projections

In coming decades, all EU countries will experience steep increases in the proportion of elderly people in the total population and a large decline in the numbers of young people and those of working age. While longer lives are a major achievement of modern European societies, the ageing of the population also poses significant challenges for their economies and welfare systems. This is seen as one of the most important challenges facing the EU.

Population ageing is one of the areas covered within the activities of the DG ECFIN. The work of DG ECFIN includes analytical reports and publications as well as notes to the Economic and Financial Committee and the Economic Policy Committee and its working groups, and briefings, speeches and other inputs to the Commission's work in general. In particular, these contributions feed into the demographic policy debate in the EU, such as the Communication on the demographic future of Europe – 'From challenges to opportunities'.

Demographic trends are studied by analysing the underlying driving factors:

  • Fertility rates
  • Life expectancy
  • Migration

On the basis of the population projections prepared by Eurostat, DG ECFIN prepares projections for labour force participation, employment and unemployment trends, taking account of the labour market behaviour of each age group. In turn, the labour force and employment projections serve for the projection of potential economic growth, which forms the underlying framework for age-related expenditure projections.