Ministers of Employment and Social Policy from European Union member states will be meeting in Gozo on 10 and 11 September 2012. The Ministers will exchange views and discuss strategies and policies on how to Enhance Solidarity between Generations through the Active Participation of the Elderly.
The meeting is being held on the initiative of the Ministry for Justice, Dialogue and the Family and the Ministry for Education and Employment.
Ministers of Employment and Social Policy and/or State Secretaries from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark, Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Estonia, Sweden, the Netherlands and Cyprus have already confirmed their participation.
It is estimated that life expectancy in the European Union has increased by an average of eight years since 1960 and is expected to increase by a further five years over the next four decades. This increase together with low birth rates, means that Europe’s population is ageing fast. A number of major challenges face European Societies in there adjustment to this reality.
Ministers Chris Said and Dolores Cristina remarked that ‘while it is clear that the inevitable consequence of people living longer and reducing mortality significantly presents us with urgent challenges to reform and adjust our societies in order to ensure our different social models remain sustainable, we maintain economic growth and Europe remains competitive, it also presents us and the European economy with great opportunities which we should be ready to reap.’
Furthermore they stressed the need to adopt a positive approach to tackling the challenges of ageing through changes in mentality and approach not only by policy makers but also by companies and our citizens.
Active ageing seeks to promote better opportunities for older people on the labour market through accessible workplaces and age friendly working conditions and allow them to achieve an adequate income in old age. So we will have to lay much more emphasis on creating better opportunities for older workers on the labour market.
Employment is not the only form of activity for older persons. Older people have an important role in our society. Many people over 55 are very active in volunteer organisations or providing informal support for friends and relatives. This may involve offering emotional or financial support, or helping with housework, or doing someone’s shopping or childcare and babysitting.
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