Monday, October 17, 2005

Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities discusses EU�s response to global ageing
[September 2005 - Alliance for Health and the Future] Mr. Vladim�r Spidla, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities spoke at the EURAG Congress about the EU�s response to the challenge of ageing. He discussed his belief that the EU needs to close the gap between demographic trends and public policies, and that �to defend the values of the European social model, and to deliver the improved quality of life that longevity will bring, means modernising the practices that define solidarity between generations.� He also noted that in order to maintain high living standards, EU nations have to increase the resources available, by for example, extending the working life. Commissioner Spidla focused on two particular areas: the EU�s role in helping older people contribute to Europe�s long-term economic and social development; and the EU�s contribution to solidarity with the very old, in terms of adequate income and quality care. He noted that between 1997 and 2004 Finland managed to raise the employment rate of older workers by 15 percentage points, and Norway made similar pogress, so it is important to learn lessons from these nations. He also discussed adapting all policy areas that affect older workers � �from improving reconciliation between work and family, to lifelong learning, to tax and benefits reforms.� Spidla then emphasized that �exploiting the full potential of every worker, including older workers, is a priority for the EU�s Lisbon strategy for growth, employment and greater social cohesion.� He concluded by outlining various areas in which the EU can modernise and adapt its policies to respond effectively to ageing, but that making real progress requires a strong partnership between the EU, Member States, and all stakeholders. ...


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