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The European Union’s Council for Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs (EPSCO Council) adopted on June 21st in Luxembourg conclusions regarding the response to be given to demographic challenges through enhanced participation in the labour market and society.
In its document of conclusions, the EPSCO Council notes that 2012 is the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations and stresses the need “to increase active participation in society before and after retirement and promote independent, healthy and dignified living.” “Raising awareness of the ageing process is essential to understanding intergenerational solidarity and enabling mutual exchange of experience between generations. ‘Solidarity between Generations’ means inter alia that everyone – young and old – is expected to and must have the chance to actively participate in our European societies.”
The Council also points out that Governments and businesses need to adapt to changes in the available workforce and “address the need to provide adequate and accessible products and services and adapt working and living conditions to an ageing population.”
Due to variation of the nature, scale and pace of the demographic trends from one country to another one, there is no "one size fits all" policy response. However, the Council invites the Member States to take actions and find solutions in key areas related to older persons, such as:
Anne-Sophie Parent, AGE Platform Secretary-General, has welcomed these conclusions. “The EU needs to invest in its human capital of all generations and to foster longer and flexible working lives as well as life-long learning opportunities for women and men”, she said, and reminded that “policies to increase the labour market participation of older people, in particular women, are essential.”