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Turning demographic winter into a new demographic spring

EPP-CoR Group discusses how to facilitate regeneration of our societies from the local and regional perspectives in Europe

 Solidarity between generations is the key to sustainable social peace and the answer to demographic change in Europe. We support the strengthening of intergenerational solidarity 

Michael Schneider

Demographic change is one of the major challenges facing European society. Birth rates and a decreasing young population across Europe have progressively become alarming problems over the last decades. The scientists agree that the EU will need to face significant demographic changes. With a declining working-age population the pressure to generate productivity growth is to become much stronger in the future.

Opening the seminar dedicated to this topic organised in Budapest, President of the EPP-CoR Group Michael Schneider underlined that the demographic change is a matter of values, a matter of effective policies, and a matter of affirming the identity of us, the Europeans, and the meaning of being part of a European Union. He stressed that – Solidarity between generations is the key to sustainable social peace and the answer to demographic change in Europe. We support the strengthening of intergenerational solidarity.

 Today, addressing demographic challenges in Europe is one of the most important issues facing the next few years 

Szabolcs Takács

He found an ally in László Kövér, chairman of the Hungarian Parliament as he insisted – We must stand by our traditional values, strengthen the traditional communities, and build a strong Europe based on the cooperation of proud and sovereign nations. While Szabolcs Takács, State Secretary for EU Affairs at the Hungarian Prime Minister’s Office added – Today, addressing demographic challenges in Europe is one of the most important issues facing the next few years.

EPP Members debated an urgent need in the European Union for a broad, coordinated and integrated response to demographic concerns and that such a European strategy should encompassing all main EU policy areas such as cohesion, research and innovation, health, employment, rural development and migration.

Head of the Hungarian delegation to the European Committee of the Regions József Ribányi underlined that low birth rates on their own are a sore point in the rural areas – Rural areas are particularly vulnerable to low birth rates, the depopulation there is more pronounced. It is an important task to provide the prospect of a future for the settlements to become more prosperous communities – he stressed.

 We need various family friendly policies and actions on every level in order to turn the current demographic winter into a new demographic spring 

Kinga Gál

The first panel investigated how to enhance a broad, coordinated and integrated EU’s response to demographic and provided an overview of the most recent developments, trends and challenges in the employment and social fields linked to demographic change with particular attention to the topic of intergenerational fairness and solidarity.

Speaking on behalf of the EPP Group in the European Parliament, EPP Vice-President Kinga Gál called for various family friendly policies and actions on every level in order to – turn the current demographic winter into a new demographic spring.

Szabolcs Takacs concludes the first panel by stressing the responsibility that we all bear for creating inclusive and productive societies for the next generations.

 We should collect EU-wide good practices from Member States’ level to regional and local levels, in order to well establish a realistic, broad and integrated EU policy as an answer to the tough demographic challenges 

Anna Magyar

The second panel debate underlined position of family as irreplaceable core institution where love, charity and human solidarity are cherished and instilled, thereby uniting different generations.

Marshal of Opolskie region (Poland) Andrzej Buła shared some recipes from his Special Demographic Zone programme encouraging family policies and returns, while Joint Research Centre Director Vladimir Sucha warned that societal regeneration needs to be forward looking as – copying from the past for the future is impossible.

Concluding the conference, Anna Magyar called for an exchange of good practice that can be spread throughout Europe – We should collect EU-wide good practices from Member States’ level to regional and local levels, in order to well establish a realistic, broad and integrated EU policy as an answer to the tough demographic challenges.

#BudapestEPP 2017