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The Silver Economy

A key challenge for Europe is its ageing population. It is a major societal challenge (in terms of public budgets, workforce, competitiveness and quality of life) but also a major opportunity for new jobs and growth.

The Silver Economy covers new market opportunities arising from public and consumer expenditure related to the rights, needs and demands of the (growing) population over 50.<br>Public spending on ageing in the EU accounts for 25% of GDP and 50% of general government expenditure and is projected to grow by 4% of GDP until 2060 (see the Commission's 2015 Ageing report).

A Study on Silver Economy market opportunities will be published in February 2017. It will offer an overview of Silver Economy related initiatives and develop ten promising Silver Economy cases where ICT and innovation can create new jobs and economic growth. It will also provide policy recommendations at EU level regarding how to grow the European Silver Economy"). Stakeholder consultation on the Silver Economy: Potentials of the European Silver Economy - Your Ideas

Silver Eco infographics

Europe is well placed to benefit from the world-wide ageing trend, amongst others because the large public sector involvement allows to effectively apply public money to foster new markets and enhance growth potential. Also it has competitive strengths in several economic sectors related to health and social care and their ICT-related subsectors.

To respond to the ageing challenge requires to work across portfolios and sectors. A number of DGs of the European Commission already pursue Silver Economy policy initiatives, e.g. on eHealth, active and healthy ageing, senior tourism and age-friendly housing. To optimise synergies and impact, steps have been taken towards a joined up Silver Economy Strategy.

An industrial event in September 2014 was followed by the First European Summit on Innovation for Active and Healthy Ageing in March 2015. A Commission background paper  PDF icon 1018 KB on Growing the Silver Economy was launched on that occasion.

Ongoing and next steps

A series of follow up actions are being developed to take forward the Silver Economy Strategy in Europe:

- An Initiative on age-friendly homes was launched  in March 2016. The overall aim is lead to a European reference framework for age-friendly digital homes.
- Implementation of the EIP-AHA Scaling-Up Strategy  PDF icon 184 KB
- Work on a 'Blueprint on Digital innovation for Europe's ageing society in the 21st Century' is ongoing. The Blueprint will mobilise a European innovation ecosystem around a shared-vision of easing the journey of emerging digital "innovation to market", promote access to finance for innovators active in the Silver Economy and support the mobilisation of structural funds through smart specialisation. It will be presented and discussed at the European Summit on Digital Innovation for Active and Healthy Ageing .

Events to come

- European Summit on Digital Innovation for Active and Healthy Ageing

Background information / Recommended reading around the Silver Economy

A non-exhautive list of studies and reports of relevance to the European Silver Economy Strategy is available.

picture of Commissioner Carlos MoedasCommissioner Carlos Moedas for Research, Science and Innovation: "In every EU Member State, the share of the population aged 65 years and over is increasing, which presents us with a ready-made, emerging market for social entrepreneurship and innovation, a sound case for developing cheaper, more efficient, personalised approaches to healthcare, and a growing customer base for tailored goods and services."

picture of Commissioner Carlos MoedasG√ľnther Oettinger, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society: "Europe is one of the continents with the oldest population world wide. This offers opportunities but also poses massive societal challenges to sustain our care and pension systems, and to maintain our quality of life. While seizing the opportunities of the Silver Economy, we must not deepen inequalities. Innovation for Active and Healthy Ageing must benefit our citizens - all of them."

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