Finding solutions to Europe’s demographic challenge is one of the CoR’s political priorities and one of the main concerns in the Europe 2020 strategy. Keeping this in mind, the rapporteur highlights that regions and cities respond in various ways to demographic challenges. Moreover, key competences in areas like, employment, participation in society and independent living that should be used to develop appropriate responses. He regrets that despite the potential for many European policies to contribute to tackling demographic challenges, they do not contain specific measures to assist affected areas, such as transport, information society, employment and social policy, environment and climate, business. Hence he insists that demographic challenges are taken more into consideration in the future. The CoR opinion further calls for the EU’s cohesion policy to provide specific instruments for areas that are most affected by demographic challenges, such as greater flexibility with regard to co-financing rates or choosing thematic objectives in order to give support for regions experiencing the most difficulties. By acknowledging the key role of many rural and sparsely populated areas in maintaining the rural environment, biodiversity and landscapes, the rapporteur recommends that the Europe 2020 strategy should be more attentive to local and regional demographic challenges by means of a flagship initiative on demographic issues.
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