To mark the start of the 2012 European Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity of Generations, the Commission presented a new Eurobarometer survey showing that 71% of Europeans are aware that Europe's population is getting older, but only 42% are concerned about this development. This is in stark contrast with the perceptions of policy makers, who regard demographic ageing as a major challenge. For most citizens, people aged 55 years and older play a major role in key areas of society. Over 60% believe that we should be allowed to continue working after retirement age and one third says that they would like to work longer themselves. Surprisingly, people closer to retirement are more likely to share this view than the younger generation.