a younger hand holding and older person's handThe European Commission has released its Green Paper on Aging launching a broad policy debate on the demographic changes in Europe.

The continent’s population is getting older, in the last five decades, life expectancy at birth has increased by about 10 years for both men and women. This ageing population is met with a low fertility rate and a working-age population which is expected to shrink by over 40 million, with the number of children and young people aged 0-19 projected to decrease by 12.6 million by 2070 as stated in the report on the impact of demographic change published by the European Commission. It is the responsibility of member states to address the impacts of ageing by improving education and skills systems, encouraging longer and fuller working lives and advancing reforms of social protection and pension systems.

The Green Paper discusses various options on how to anticipate and respond to the challenges and opportunities which may arise. It takes a life-cycle approach that reflects the universal impact of ageing and focuses on both the personal and wider societal implications of ageing. These include everything from lifelong learning and healthy lifestyles to how to fund adequate pensions or the need for increase productivity and a large enough workforce to sustain healthcare and long-term care for older people.

The launch of the Green Paper will be followed by a 12-week public consultation between January 27, 2021 and April 21, 2021.

For more information on the Green Paper, visit the European Commission’s website.