The EC published its Green Paper on Ageing on 24 January 2021. It also
simultaneously launched a public consultation on this subject. It will run from 27 January
to 21 April 2021. The object is to launch a broad debate on ageing throughout
The green paper takes a life course
approach to address the specific and societal consequences of ageing. Four key
points are highlighted.
The promotion of healthy lifestyles and
lifelong learning from the earliest possible age are at the forefront. The EU
could support national health policies in its Member States through EU4Health,
in the fights against cancer, dementia and mental illness as well as in
promoting healthy diets and lifestyles. Personalised medicine could detect
early signs of health threats. Lifelong learning could be realised through early
childhood care and education and the promotion of adult education and training.
The EC is of the opinion that high labour
force participation and longer working lives are essential for mitigating the
negative effects of an ageing society. This could be achieved through increased
female participation quotas and the greater integration of people with a
migrant background and those with disabilities into the labour market. The
participation of older workers in the labour market and the creation of good
working conditions will also be crucial.
The EC recommends further reforms of the
pension systems in its Member States in order to stabilise the social security
systems. Extending the working life is mentioned as an important instrument. It
proposes adjusting the retirement age to higher life expectancy, limiting early
retirement and giving people the right to work beyond retirement age. At the
same time, fair pensions would have to be paid so that poverty in old age can
be fought. Access to social security systems should be extended to other groups
Needs of an ageing society
The EC wants to address the increased
demand for both healthcare and long-term care and therefore, it proposes that
investments should be made in high quality services and infrastructures as well
as in research and in innovation in the health sector. Outpatient and
community-based care infrastructures for health and nursing care should be
promoted, as should cross-border mobility to overcome staff shortages in the
health and social welfare sectors.
German Social Security will actively
participate in the public consultation.