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European Year... 2012

"… aims to foster the conditions that make for a better future for both young and old in our ageing societies. The key lies in ensuring that people can continue to contribute to the economy and to society and to look after themselves as they grow old."

László Andor

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The European Union has designated 2012 as the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations. Why? Because Europe is getting older.

The European Union is experiencing significant population ageing. This demographic shift is the inevitable consequence of major achievements within our societies – greatly reduced mortality and therefore higher life expectancy.

Active ageing means growing old in good health and as a full member of society, feeling more fulfilled in our jobs, more independent in our daily lives and more involved as citizens. No matter how old we are, we can still play our part in society and enjoy a better quality of life. The challenge is to make the most of the enormous potential that we harbour even at a more advanced age. The Year seeks to promote active ageing in three areas: Employment, Participation in Society and Independent Living.

The European Year is a unique opportunity to jointly celebrate and mobilise the experience, wisdom and many other qualities senior citizens bring to society. The European Year challenges our perceptions of older people as a burden on society by focusing on potentials and opportunities rather than impairments and obstacles. We have potentials for a more active and fulfilling life at any age – and these need to be realised for our own benefit and for that of society as a whole. Let's make sure that we have the best possible chance to remain healthy, active and independent, as we grow older!

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EU Opening Conference

The European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations is now upon us. The official launch event was celebrated on 18/19 January in Copenhagen. The event was organised by the Danish Ministry of Employment, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Integration and the Ministry of Health in close cooperation with the European Commission.

Commissioners, ministers, representatives of relevant stakeholders and researchers were present to help get the year well and truly off the ground. The conference discussed how innovation can bring new solutions to the pending challenges of an ageing society in Europe within the fields of employment, social affairs and health. The European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor stated

" I hope to achieve during this European Year (is to ensure) that all players commit themselves to specific actions and goals during 2012, so that we see older people’s opportunities improve tangibly and they can start making a greater contribution to society during the Year itself."

During the two-day event a number of presentations of good practice cases showed how various European countries are promoting active ageing. The Danish EU presidency summed it up by saying "Life does not end at 60, and society acknowledges that senior citizens have much to offer."

Presentations from the opening conference

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Films shown at the conference

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Video on the conference

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For information about the European Year 2012

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Get Involved

The European Year is about taking action and making change happen so that we can build a more inclusive society for people of all ages. This won’t happen by decree. It requires a sustained collaborative effort in which many have to play their part.

The Year should be an opportunity for you – as a citizen, as an employer, as an elected representative – to think about what you can do to promote active ageing and strengthen solidarity between generations. It is an invitation to you to commit to specific actions that will contribute to these goals.

A commitment can take many forms, and every commitment counts. Any individual, any public or private body, company, association or municipality, large or small, can set and reach attainable goals to promote a more active role for senior citizens. From policy makers implementing legislation or comprehensive action programmes to companies improving workplace facilities and working hours… the possibilities are endless – and so are the needs for improvement!

Share with others what you are doing on the website for the European Year – and get inspiration for your own work from there!

Get Involved!

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Participating countries

Each EU Member State will be holding a launch event in the first quarter of 2012 to kick off the European Year in their respective country. The launch events are based on the “Get Involved” concept and most consist of a networking area, exhibition and conference room. The exhibition room allows organisations to showcase their

initiatives and to present cultural activities such as photography exhibitions or dances. The events will be attended by policy makers, stakeholder representatives, researchers and journalists.

Throughout the European Year, events and activities will take place in all 27 Member States plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Find out more about your country’s national coordinator, the national work programmes and national websites.

Participating countries

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Campaign Material

The official video for the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations 2012 is available to be seen online in all official EU languages on the EY 2012 website

Also other campaign material such as leaflets, rollups and posters are available on the website. These materials are available to be downloaded in order to be disseminated across Europe.

Campaign material

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Eurobarometer

The European Commission presented on 13 January 2012 the results of a Eurobarometer survey on active ageing and solidarity between generations.

Press release in all 23 official languages

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Memo in English

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Home:  europa.eu/active-ageing-2012
Email:  EC-ACTIVEAGEING2012@ec.europa.eu
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