By 2020, 25% of the EU's population will be over 65. To respond to this growing demographic challenge, the Council of Ministers approved today a Commission plan to make Europe a hub for developing digital technologies designed to help older people to continue living independently at home. The proposal, presented by the Commission on 14 June 2007, will provide some additional €150 million funding to a new European Joint Research Programme, resulting in a total investment of over €600 million. Through this new programme companies will be able to develop highly innovative digital products and services to improve the lives of older people at home, in the workplace and in society in general. Smart devices for improving security at home, mobile solutions for vital sign monitoring and user friendly interfaces for those with impaired vision or hearing – all of which will improve the quality of life of elderly people, their careers and families. The plan had already been approved by the European Parliament on 13 March in a first reading (Rapporteur: Neena Gill). 20 EU Member States, as well as Israel, Norway and Switzerland will participate in this Joint Research Programme.