Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2006-03-23-Speech-4-034"

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". Madam President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, I should like to start by giving my sincere thanks to Mr Bushill-Matthews for his excellent report. I would say to Commissioner Špidla that, personally, I would gladly live for 120 years. I need to reach 116 to break even on my pension scheme. I am surprised that the Green Paper on demographic change does not take greater account of health aspects. The problems of an ageing society are not limited to economic aspects. New syndromes are coming to the fore, as can already be seen: dementia – be it Alzheimer’s disease or subcortical dementia – vascular disease, from coronary heart disease to renal insufficiency, metabolic diseases – diabetes, first and foremost – arthritis of the spine and the large joints, and osteoporosis, to name but a few. This makes it all the more a question of prevention, of ensuring good living conditions for all before treatment and, if treatment should be necessary, of ensuring that this is as good as possible for all Europeans. It is a case of maintaining both quality of life and mobility. We need social reorientation in order to meet these challenges. Retirement now comprises one third of the human lifespan. We need meaningful employment, social tasks, fulfilling tasks for older people, barrier-free living, new forms of housing, and, if necessary, excellent nursing care and medical care. However, I would take issue with the implicit and unreflective assumption in the Green Paper that a decline in population would have exclusively negative consequences for the established social system. I should therefore like to see the following issues addressed: the extent to which the negative consequences of a population decline may be addressed by innovation, higher rates of employment and modernisation of social protection; whether there may also be positive aspects to the decline in population, for example on issues relating to the environment, traffic congestion and land development; and whether a ‘Pareto optimum’ for Europe’s population size may ultimately be established."@en1

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