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 number of people 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, including health and long-term care systems, as older people often need not only more care, but also specific types of care to face constantly changing morbidity and disability patterns. This is seen as one of the most important challenges facing the EU in the coming years.
Assessing the economic and budgetary consequences of population ageing is one of the activities of DG ECFIN. To this end, it carries out thorough economic and institutional analyses of the health and long-term care systems in the EU.
These welfare systems not only play an important role in the social protection system of each Member State, but they are also a major component in total age-related spending.
DG ECFIN makes health-care and long-term-care expenditure projections to analyse the size and timing of projected changes in expenditure and their underlying driving factors. These analyses also cover the sensitivity of the projections to certain economic and demographic assumptions.
The impact of ageing populations on health-care and long-term-care public expenditure is studied across a set of age-related public expenditure projections done by DG ECFIN.
DG ECFIN's contributions include analytical reports and publications as well as notes to the Economic and Financial Committee and the Economic Policy Committee and its working groups, briefings, speeches and inputs to the Commission's work in general.
In particular, DG ECFIN contributions feed into policy debate, assessments and recommendations in various coordination processes, such as the Lisbon Strategy for growth and jobs, the Stability and Growth Pact and the Open method of coordination on Social Protection.
Age-related expenditure projections, including health and long-term care, form the basis for the assessment of the long-term sustainability of public finances in the context of the Stability and Growth Pact. DG ECFIN also contributes to the Open method of coordination on Social Protection regarding the sustainability of health and long-term care systems.