Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2006-03-23-Speech-4-033"

PredicateValue (sorted: default)
dcterms:Is Part Of
lpv:document identification number
lpv:translated text
". Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to thank Mr Bushill-Matthews, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality for their report, which is truly inspiring. I am delighted at the support that Parliament has expressed for our Green Paper. Parliament’s report has come at the right time to provide a boost to the work of the Commission in respect of the new communication on demographics, since we will be finalising this communication over the next few weeks, and the timing therefore allows us to make use of your report in a very practical way. The report includes a number of highly important points that merit a place in the new communication, which draws conclusions from the responses we received to our Green Paper and from impact studies financed through the pilot action which the European Parliament organised. It sets out the possibilities for continuing cooperation at a European level over demographic issues. Ladies and gentlemen, in recent times Europe has achieved some extraordinary successes. I would like to state this unequivocally, so that we may bear it in mind. The demographic ageing of our society is an outcome of this success in respect of two of the corners of the population pyramid and two locations on the pyramid. Average life expectancy has increased through the enormous advances in medicine, which have, for example, largely overcome cardiovascular diseases, thereby making a significant contribution to average life expectancy for middle-aged persons. Thanks to major medical advances in the area of child care and peri-natal care, the figures for child and infant mortality have fallen to levels never before seen in history and probably unexpected up to even a few decades ago. This is an unquestionable success. In a manner of speaking, we now enjoy twice as much life as our forbears. And I was delighted to discover, during the course of discussions with the insurance companies, that they are now working from mortality tables that go up not to 80, but to 120 years. This success has its consequences, of course, since demographic ageing alters our entire society across all areas. It is important to realise that a holistic response is required, an integrated and all-inclusive response. Demographic ageing goes beyond the issues of pension systems, health, education, urban planning and so on. In fact, I doubt whether we could find any area of human activity that is not affected by demographic ageing, including the armed forces. We must therefore strive to ensure that active ageing becomes a reality. We must develop our care services for children and the elderly. We must develop new products and services in order to respond better to the needs of ageing individuals, and of course the needs of a society that will be ageing overall, as its age profile alters. We must finally invest more in developing and retaining our human capital in such a way that we achieve high levels of employment and enable the elderly to remain active in the workforce for longer. In the responses to the Green Paper consultations, especially in the responses of the Member States, great emphasis was placed on the need for better harmonisation of our private, family and professional lives. It is already the case that migrants are reversing patterns of demographic decline in some Member States. In order to have a truly beneficial effect, migration must go hand in hand with greater efforts at integration and overcoming differences. Despite all of this, ladies and gentlemen, it remains clear that the migrants on whom we are counting as a permanent feature of our societies in the future do not represent the answer to the problems of demographic ageing. They are one of the components, but they should never be regarded as the solution. I would like to mention some of the issues that should be included in our programme of work over the coming years. We would like to renew our focus on harmonising family and professional life, as it is clear that European citizens want to have more children than they currently have. And in order for their natural longings and wishes to be fulfilled, we must in my view take a profound look at our society as a whole, our habits, our ways of doing things and the practices we employ. We would like to set up a European forum on population and demographics, enabling us to understand better the various aspects involved in incorporating a demographic dimension into individual policies, and supported by recognised experts in the field as well as voluntary organisations. In 2007 the Commission will be presenting a report on the measures taken by Member States to incorporate into their national legislation the provisions of Directive 2007/78/EC relating to age discrimination. Every two years, coinciding with the plenary sittings of the forum, the Commission will publish a report on population and demographics in Europe, which will describe demographic trends in Europe in the context of developments worldwide. Ladies and gentlemen, the added value of Europe consists largely in organising the exchange of information, comparing proven approaches and presenting and disseminating the resulting data. We are already doing this in many areas, especially those areas relating to the Lisbon Strategy. Ladies and gentlemen, demographic developments are changing our society. They have changed it throughout history and will continue to do so in the future. Our society is becoming technically older in demographic terms, but we can also say with certainty that it is becoming wiser, as wisdom is related to experience and is in all societies a characteristic of those who have enjoyed good fortune, living long enough to have the opportunity to draw on their experiences. In our debates I feel that we shall find ways to respond to the challenges arising from the enormous success of our society in prolonging life and raising the quality of life, and we shall do it in such a way that future generations will follow the course that we plot, a course that will involve a more profound sense of the quality of life, the human dimension and the social values that we all cherish."@en1

Named graphs describing this resource:


The resource appears as object in 2 triples

Context graph