MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION BY THE COMMITTEE ON CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS
Are you listening?: According to the United Nations, less than 2% of parliamentarians worldwide are under 30 years old, while half of the world’s population falls into this age category. Considering the current popularity of alternative forms of political participation, how can the EU combat the underrepresentation of its young people in decision-making processes?
Submitted by: Basmala Abdelwahab, Sarrah Aulman, Anna Bachem, Saffan Dollart, Senno Evers, Yara Charlotte den Haan, Fayrouz El Hamus, Nikkie Hollander, Aleksei Kupa, Laurence Verbree, Natia Ninoshvili (Chairperson, GE)
The European Youth Parliament aims to create a diverse political field where people of all ages are equally represented and their opinions are acknowledged. Reducing ageism and stereotypes in politics to a minimum is crucial. We strive to create a functional education system where everyone receives the knowledge needed to be an active citizen. We also aim to make participation in politics more accessible to youth by inflicting changes in the legal system, as young people deserve agency to determine their future.
The European Youth Parliament,
Concerned that young people do not feel drawn to traditional political participation due to:
the lack of presence of people under 30 years of age, aggravated by the average age of European parliamentarians being 50,
Aware of the fact that the entry requirements for traineeships at the European Parliament, such as minority language and education, are inordinate for people with less financial, geographical or cultural opportunities,
Bearing in mind that the voting age and age to running for candidacy for the European Parliament differ amongst Member States, leading to an unequal representation of the youth from different states,
Reconfirming that governments do not take into account the opinions expressed by the youth in decision-making concerning young citizens,
Alarmed by the lack of knowledge regarding politics and the late education on the subject within schools leading to potentially reduced involvement in traditional politics,
Noting with regret that platforms for political youth participation are not sufficiently promoted or used to their fullest extent;
Calling upon the Directorate-General for Communications to publicly promote more representation of the youth in politics to eliminate mistrust of older politicians;
Encouraging the legislative bodies of Member States to increase sentences or introduce community service as an additional sentence against threatening politicians in any way shape or form;
Suggesting Member States to adjust the voting age and the age to run for candidacy for the European Parliament to be equal throughout Europe;
Strongly urging politicians to take into account the opinions of the young people by listening to Youth Councils, such as the European Youth Forum, with a minimum of one hearing every three months being dedicated to this purpose;
Further urging the EU to reserve 7% of the European Commission seats for people under 30 with an eventual goal of achieving 15% representation;
Asking the European Commission to provide further financial support for educational programmes associated with political youth participation;
Recommending the EU to make social studies a mandatory subject at schools for at least a year and make it available for those who want to continue studying it;
Advising Member States to provide workshops at schools to teach students about politics in the form of field trips to political institutions, mock elections, and political school activities;
Requesting the Directorate-General for Education and Culture to support the implementation of political education from an earlier age of 12 to familiarise youth with such topics;
Directs the EU to provide traineeships for high school graduates with a willingness to join the European Parliament;
Instructing that the number of required languages is lowered for the already-existing traineeship for bachelor’s degree graduates.
Traditional politics: Direct political participation in parliaments, political parties, and (inter)national governments.
Current entry requirements for the Schuman Traineeship with the European Parliament: The applicants must:
Be aged 18 or over,
Be citizens of either an EU member state or an accession/candidate nation,
Hold a university diploma,
Have a strong knowledge of one of the EU’s official languages and excellent knowledge of a second,
Provide an eligible criminal record,
Not have worked for any other type of traineeship in an EU institution for more than two consecutive months, or
Not have completed a study visit to the European Parliament Secretariat six months previous to the start of the traineeship.
Voting age: A legal minimum age that a person must reach in order to be able to vote in a public election.
Age for running for candidacy: The national law determines the qualifying age to run for office in the European elections. The minimum age required to run for office in the European elections varies significantly, ranging from 18 to 25 years old.
The European Youth Forum (EYF): A platform for youth-led organisations in Europe which is funded by Erasmus + and the Council of Europe. The goal of the EYF is to represent young people, where they will be treated equally as citizens, and empowered to realise their full potential as global citizens.Social studies: Deals with human behaviour, resources, relationships and institutions. Specific topics include history, geography, sociology, politics, economics and anthropology.
MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION BY COMMITTEE ON CULTURE AND EDUCATION
Spreek je Nederlands?: In recent years, there has been a large increase of refugees on European soil, thus highlighting the challenges that a new language imposes on them. Considering that, what measures should be taken in order to make education available and accessible, thus abolishing some of the barriers refugees face when integrating into a new society?
Submitted by: Israe El Boudaidi Chikhi, Famke van den Dugen, Tova Fritzon, Pieke Jongejan, Selen Nur Kaçmaz, Feline Mac Donald, Evie Nicholls, Olivia Stjernstörm, Soija Tutulić, Sebastiaan Vanseuningen, Nyah Willems, Bianca Zancan (Chairperson, IT)
The European Youth Parliament aims to help refugees integrate into Member State societies by tackling the language barrier separating them from native speakers. We strive to develop comprehensive tools to ease language acquisition, that shall be available and accessible to all refugees fleeing to, and arriving on European soil. Through promoting the teaching of national languages of host countries, the European Youth Parliament hopes to achieve mutual acceptance between native citizens and refugees and successful integration of the latter with the first.
Understanding that language barriers in the medical field often lead to a misdiagnosis, and to an overall decrease in the quality of provided healthcare, testified by 37% of doctors believing non-native speaking patients hold information from them due to an inability to communicate,
Calls upon the European Council on Refugees and Exiles to conduct a census of refugees living in each Member State and register their biometrics to facilitate better acknowledgement and understanding of their different needs;
Seeks NGOs such as Open Arms and SOS Mediterranee to develop and enhance education-centred infrastructure in refugee camps;
Asks private organisations and (inter)governmental organisations, such as Taalunie, to research the financial and social benefits that come from refugees learning their host country’s language;
Invites Member States to provide healthcare facilities with trained interpreters to improve the doctor-patient relationship and prevent misdiagnosis;
Implores the Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (DG EAC) to facilitate the development of online language education platforms aimed at providing all foreigners tools to learn the host country’s language;
Further implores DG EAC to provide language courses focused on specialised professions’ terminologies on these education platforms;
Calls upon Member States to introduce modules within teacher training courses that help teachers to make language education more suitable for refugees;
Invites Member States to support the establishment of talking groups for refugees to help them learn the national language in an informal setting;
Requests the Council of Europe to expand the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages to establish guidelines for the acquisition of qualifications in language teaching of refugees;
Urges Member States to increase the accessibility and quality of educational tools and resources by encouraging citizens to partake in educational projects voluntarily;
Encourages Member States to develop courses on language learning for refugees in line with the Linguistic Integration of Adult Migrants (LIAM);
Trusts that Member States will promote inclusion within schools by ensuring that teachers are instructed on each child’s personal needs;
Calls upon Member States to provide support for parents tackling the language barrier in daily life to ease the living conditions of their private lives and promote better societal integration.
Refugee: a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, conflict, persecution, or natural disaster.
Language barrier: the difficulty or impossibility to communicate between individuals who do not speak a common language.
Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: an instrument used by the Council of Europe to promote quality education of multiple languages and stimulate reflection and exchange between language experts to improve language education.
Linguistic Integration of Adult Migrants (LIAM): project developed by the Council of Europe in 2006, with a focus on language policy and its development, language learning programmes for adult migrants, and the assessment of learning outcomes.
Taalunie: an organisation which develops and promotes a policy on Dutch teaching and learning in the Netherlands, Flanders, and Suriname.
Motion for a resolution by the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection
All Along the Algorithm: With social media platforms’ business models based on algorithmic content curation, the phenomenon of disinformation echo chambers has become a mainstay in political discourse. Considering its implications for the security of European citizens and for the democratic processes within the Member States, what steps can the EU take to mitigate this threat?
Submitted by: Wessel Adelaar, Lieke van Driel, Elise Fanoy, Anouschka de Graaf, Ananya Sharma, Selim Urfalı, Youri van der Worp, Wobbe van der Woude, Mihaela Chiujdea (Chairperson, FI)
The European Youth Parliament aims to combat the spread of disinformation echo chambers and their negative impact on the security of European citizens and democratic processes. It further seeks to protect the fundamental right to freedom of speech of all European citizens. It also aims to combat the far-right propaganda facilitated by disinformation.
Deeply alarmed by the utilisation of sentiments of doubt and uncertainty towards democracy in generating disinformation spread with the goal of enlarging the political presence of extremist ideologies,
Suggests the European External Action Service collaborates with Algorithm Watch to detect disinformation through artificial intelligence;
Invites the Directorate-General of Democracy and Human Dignity (DGII) to:
publish a proposal of anti-disinformation guidelines for online newspapers aligned with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union;
encourage social media platforms to ban or punish accounts that violate agreed-upon values of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union;
Requests the High-Level Expert Group on Fake News and Online Disinformation to cooperate with the European Digital Media Observatory to discuss the implementation of EU certification labels that prove the validity or invalidity of information on a website;
Asks Member States to implement educational awareness campaigns about sensationalist media and the possible disinformation it might include;
Further asks Member States to urge public companies to:
sign the Code of Practice (2022);
promote the execution of a yearly audit done by the Ministries of Internal Affairs to ensure adherence to the Code of Practice (2022) application;
Calls upon the Radicalisation Awareness Network to decrease the influence of political disinformation through deradicalisation programs in the most affected Member States;
Advises the Reboot Foundation to broaden the education on media literacy and disinformation to the general public, specifically educational institutions, elderly citizens and government officials by:
offering teaching resources directed at children and their parents,
setting up community outreach programs about the impact of disinformation,
providing courses on disinformation throughout their careers;
Requests social media companies to link established and reputable sources to existing sensationalist media posts from informal sources.
Algorithmic content curation: Social media selection and ranking algorithms that help consumers experience better content.
Disinformation: False information intentionally and frequently spread covertly in order to influence public opinion or obscure the truth.
Echo chamber: A setting in which a person only encounters information or opinions that mirror and reinforce their own.
Freedom of speech: According to Article 11 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. The freedom and pluralism of the media shall be respected.”Code of Practice: A first-of-its-kind technology that allowed industry players to agree on self-regulatory rules to combat disinformation for the first time in 2018.
MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION BY COMMITTEE ON LEGAL AFFAIRS II
New and improved?: The last decade was marked by the rise of giant tech companies with innovative business models and large customer bases, which have often taken advantage of legal loopholes and lobbying to implement non-ethical practices. How can the EU hold these corporations to a higher level of social responsibility, thus tackling issues like market competitiveness and workers’ rights?
Submitted by: Cameron Berg, Marleen de Gorter, Kik Maassen, Petra Miladinović, Dan Nguyen, Esther Nijboer, Jahan Omari, Célestine van Swieten, Tudor Vlahu, Muco de Vries, Raphael Gross-Chartuni (Chairperson, NL)
The European Youth Parliament aims to alleviate the democratic deficit caused by corporate lobbying in the EU, improve workers’ rights and conditions in the gig economy, and reduce tax evasion across the European Union. Through this, we also aim to strengthen the existing legislation in place against such misconduct and renew trust in the integrity of European legislative bodies.
The European Youth Parliament,
Fully alarmed by the number of ex-politicians receiving corporate-lobbyist positions after leaving their post in the EU,
MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION BY COMMITTEE ON EMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS
Boomer Era: European countries are facing the effects of an ageing population on labour and social structures as the number of European citizens aged over 65 is increasing rapidly. What measures can Member States take to accommodate the economy and societal structures of the old-age population?
Submitted by: Asmita Anand, Bobby Blaauw, Fiona Blair, Andreas Carter, Isis Gorissen, Anna Herbert, Felix Jacobs, Mina Jovanovic, Crimson Mahoney, Michaïl Marécha, Madelief van Poelvoorde, Paul Gerring (Chairperson, DE)
The European Youth Parliament aims to support Member States in accommodating an ageing population and the increased pressure it places on economic and social structures. Furthermore, the European Youth Parliament aims to strengthen the labour force and encourage healthier family and career balances.
The European Youth Parliament,
Deeply concerned by the rapidly increasing difference between retirement age and life expectancy resulting in great pressure on the social security systems,
MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION BY COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Born at risk: Transgender people are over four times more likely than cisgender people to be the victims of violent crime and 2021 registered a record number of 50 violent fatal incidents. What actions can the EU take to protect the fundamental rights and physical integrity of its targeted Citizens?
Submitted by: Isthea Amoilafoe, Tayma El Yalte, Jente Goossens, Leah Israël, Evy Minnaar, Leo Pettersson, Alice Rapp, Tuur van Berge Henegouwen, Benjamin Stephenson (Chairperson, CH/NL)
The European Youth Parliament aims to protect transgender people in the EU against transphobic violence at its source by curbing microaggressions, fetishisation, and non-inclusive legislation while promoting positive representation of trans people in the media and providing education on the topic. Ultimately, we strive to change societal perspectives and extend the legal protection of trans people.
Observing that the lack of statutory law protections for non-transitioned transgender and gender non-conforming people prevents the prosecution of hate crimes carried out against them;
Calls upon ILGA-Europe’s trans-oriented subsidiaries to facilitate intersectional trans-focused awareness in their respective locations;
Invites the Directorate-General for Budget (DG BUDG) to encourage fund distribution to intersectional trans-inclusive cultural media projects;
Suggests Member States establish the role of a trans-specialised counsellor at police stations nationwide responsible for facilitating communication with transgender victims;
Directs DG BUDG to allocate further funding to Trans United Europe to establish genderqueer-exclusive shelters and genderqueer-friendly shelters;
Asks Member States to establish a national helpline for trans people;
Directs the Court of Justice of the European Union to make amendments to existing hate crime legislation in order to include non-binary trans people and trans people who have not transitioned medically;
Encourages Member States to communicate best practices and existing statutory law regarding hate crimes against transgender people to aid further development of statutory law throughout the EU.
Transgender: An umbrella term for people whose gender identity does not conform to the sex they were assigned at birth.
Intersectionality: How discrimination can combine, overlap and intersect in the experiences of marginalised individuals.
Microaggression: An action that subtly (and typically unconsciously) expresses a prejudice towards a member of a marginalised group.Fetishisation: An unreasonable amount of importance given to an object or person.
MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION BY THE COMMITTEE ON LEGAL AFFAIRS I
Are we going the right way?: With Hungary being declared as an autocracy and the rise of far-right ideologies in several Member States, democratic and EU values are at risk. What measures can the EU take to ensure the perseverance of rule of law and democracy in the European political sphere?
Submitted by: Lina Assalhi, Sofia Boll, Astrid Bråtman, Damnjana Dimitrijević, Ella Hagberg, Hashim Khalid, Mirte van Oorschot, Iva Pavlovic, Ester Pernsjö, Marek Jankovský (Chairperson, CZ)
The European Youth Parliament aims to ensure that the EU values, including the rule of law and democracy, are being upheld and respected across all Member States. It further seeks to re-stabilise the adherence to fundamental EU values through the restructuring of control and sanctioning mechanisms. Finally, it also aims to provide aid to individuals who suffered upon a breach of fundamental EU values and seeks to further support the development of critical theory.
The European Youth Parliament,
Alarmed by the threat posed by discriminatory narratives, such as racism, xenophobia, or homophobia, to the citizens of the European Union by far-right movements,
Aware of the risks represented by far-right ideologies that promote protectionism and welfare chauvinism, an anti-immigrant discourse based on fear and hatred, or traditional family and religious values,
the factual inapplicability of the sanctioning proceedings under Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU),
Concerned by the actions of several Member States’ governments threatening media independence including:
Member States’ or state-associated bodies obtaining ownership of extensive numbers of media outlets,
control of media content presented to the general public,
strict enforcement of a single party’s political stance or insufficient representation of minority opinions,
extensive presentation of ethnocentric content in media,
Taking into account the negative consequences of significant limitations to fundamental freedoms occurring in several Member States such as restrictions of academic freedom of educational institutions, freedom of association, freedom of assembly, and freedom of expression of specific groups and organisations,
Proposes an amendment of the sanctioning mechanism under Article 7(2) of the Treaty on European Union to change the voting requirements from unanimity to a four-fifths majority of the European Council to determine the existence of a serious and persistent breach of EU values;
Seeks the Fundamental Rights Agency to further the EU’s understanding of the causes of far-right populism by appointing a research group on far-right populism;
Recommends that EU institutions promote and monitor the independence of the judiciary in Member States via means of regular dialogues with Member States’ governments;
Calls upon the European Commission to build upon the rule of law conditionality regulation by introducing further financial sanctions for Member States’ violation of EU values by September 2023;
Appeals to the European Commission to protect the freedom of association and assembly by acting upon the European Parliament resolution of 8 March 2022, on the shrinking space for civil society in Europe;
Further calls upon the Directorate-General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union (DG FISMA) to minimise the risk of misuse of EU funds by:
MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION BY THE COMMITTEE ON CIVIL LIBERTIES, JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS
On the move: According to the international think tank IEP, 1.2 billion people are predicted to be displaced globally by 2050 due to climate change. Taking into account the effect of climate displacement on (inter)national security and life, how can the EU tackle the effects of environmental migration?
Submitted by: Sophia Biermann, Belle Boswijk, Anouk Bus, Claudia Caisley, Job van der Duijn, Anna Huitema, Madelief Oosterveld, Tin van der Voort, Marjolijn Webb, Kaitlyn van der Weerd, Elsa Nautsch (Chairperson, CH)
The European Youth Parliament aims to affirm the legal rights and protection of ‘environmental refugees’. It seeks to ensure the protection of refugees while relieving pressure on southern EU Member States disproportionately affected by the increase in migration flows due to climate change. Simultaneously, it intends to tackle the effects of climate change on the population.
The European Youth Parliament,
Recognising the increase in the likelihood of extreme weather events as the leading cause for ‘environmental refugees’ by 83% over the past 20 years,
Deeply concerned that the number of people projected to be displaced due to sea level rise alone by 2050 is 150 million globally,
Conscious of the fact that climate change disproportionately affects countries relying on agriculture which causes internal migration from rural to urban areas resulting in food insecurity, overcrowded cities, and potential enhancement of internal existing conflict,
Deeply regretting that the EU has 920,700 pending asylum applications as of October 2022 as a result of a long application process,
Deeply disturbed by the unequal distribution of refugees in European countries due to:
larger flows into countries in closer proximity to Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) States,
the lack of willingness of governments and the public to accept refugees,
Deeply disturbed by the 50.000 deaths since 2014 as a result of the lack of protection for unprecedented numbers of refugees and the absence of safe migration routes,
Expressing our satisfaction with the European Climate Law binding Member States to follow the Green Deal;
Invites Member States to share research into carbon emissions and climate mitigation technology such as early warning systems and response methods globally;
Recommends the European Commission to allocate funds to NGOs such as Climate Refugee to:
distribute resources in MENA states,
facilitate knowledge sharing on resource management, infrastructure, and agriculture;
Asks the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) to appoint a Fundamental Rights Officer to ensure Member States reach the common standard of accommodations for asylum centres;
Encourages Member States to establish new refugee camps and asylum accommodations in or near urban areas;
Urges the European Commission to amend the definition of ‘refugee’ in the Recast Qualification Directive to encompass individuals who have left their countries due to environmental factors;
Advises the European Commission to include ‘environmental refugee’ in the implementation of projects such as the Refugee Awareness Project across all Member States;
Calls upon the EUAA to ensure an EU-wide consistent approach to implementing the CEAS in Member States by:
clarifying aspects of the CEAS frequently interpreted differently amongst Member States,
establishing a EUAA sub-body with the task of keeping track of the implementation of the CEAS;
Requests the European Commission to strictly enforce the EUAA set time limit of 6 months to make a decision on an asylum application and decrease the number of exceptions regarding this time limit granted;
Calls upon the EUAA to facilitate the equal distribution of refugees and their integration in their host countries by:
monitoring the numbers of expected refugees to reach EU territory;
assessing Member States’ capacity to handle migration flows;
Encourages the European Commission to cooperate with Member States and humanitarian organisations to ensure the safety of refugees by increasing the provision of first aid and basic necessities along popular migration routes within EU territory.
Migration: Migration is the movement of a person either across an international border or within a state, voluntarily or involuntarily for more than one year.
Refugee: A refugee is a person who is outside of the country of nationality because of a well-founded fear of prosecution because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group and thus is unwilling to or cannot return to said country.
Asylum: Asylum is a form of protection given by a state or territory to an internationally or nationally recognised refugee.
Principle of Non-Refoulment: The principle means that countries have an obligation to protect and welcome an individual if their life is in danger in their country of origin. In late 2019, the United Nations Human Rights Committee accepted that climate change does impose such a serious threat on people’s lives and that the principle of non-refoulment is applicable.
MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION BY THE COMMITTEE ON INDUSTRY, RESEARCH AND ENERGY
Itsy Bitsy Robots: Despite the positive impact nanomedicine has had on the innovation ofhealthcare and health research, its potential remains hindered as EU still struggles withnanotechnology regulation. How can the EU foster the development of nanomedicine whileensuring the safety of patients?
Submitted by: Alice Bould, Nout Faber, Yara van Hoek, Fenne Huizer, Evy Jiang, Lisa Lubberman, Beth Marriott, Natasha Martinez Challapa, Julia van der Schaar, Moon Wennink, Arthur Westerman, Teodor-Cristian Borcan (Chairperson, RO)
The European Youth Parliament aims to increase the quantity, and efficiency of research conducted in the field of nanomedicine. Furthermore, it seeks to reform the current regulatory system surrounding nanomedicine, while striving to improve stakeholders’ access to knowledge about nanomedicine. It also aims to maximise the potential of nanomedicine in a safe, efficient and cohesive way, leading to accessible, and high-quality treatments.
Noting with regret the possible exploitation of the decentralised authorisation procedure’s lack of uniformity in Member States by pharmaceutical companies,
Deeply alarmed by the premature abandonment of application procedures due to the fear of undesired outcomes;
Calls upon the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in cooperation with Member States to conduct workshops, seminars, and Massive Online Open Courses on nanotechnology;
Advises Member States to broaden the scope of the science education curriculum in faculties of medical sciences by incorporating information on the applications of nanotechnology;
Instructs EMA to put forward a separate classification system for nanomaterials and nanosimilar products;
Encourages the EMA to foster transparency and efficient knowledge and progress sharing within the international community by reaching out to other drug-approving agencies such as the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency in the United Kingdom;
Asks the REFINE Nanomed Project to organise events focused on knowledge sharing and cooperation between international stakeholders in the field of nanomedicine;
Further calls upon the European Commission to help allocate Horizon Europe grants to companies that choose to apply through the centralised procedure of authorisation;
Requests the EMA to develop a guidebook detailing the application for authorisation of nanomedicine procedure to prevent the premature abandonment thereof;
Strongly encourages the European Commission to introduce a Directive for a minimum safety requirement for nanomedicine authorisation to create a universal standard for the quality of nanomedicine.
The population structure of a geographical area can be represented in detail by the demographic change model. This makes it possible to see how the population is currently composed and how it will develop in the coming decades. In most industrialised countries, especially in the European Union, the phenomenon of inverted age pyramids can be observed. This means that the population is becoming increasingly older, and it is shrinking overall. This puts increasing pressure on the economies and social systems of the Member States. On one hand, fewer younger people are able to provide pensions for more older people. In this context, the European Commission is already seeking a rethink in the areas of health care, welfare, public budgets and public life. In addition, issues such as access to services, community care and even loneliness need to be addressed.
The European population will grow at a slower rate and, by 2060, one in three Europeans will be aged over 65.
The old-age dependency ratio depicts the number of people at an age when they are economically inactive compared to the number of people of working age. For example, in Italy, 67% of the people will be economically inactive while only 33% will be working in 2075.
Currently, in many Member States there is bad compatibility between family and career and young parents often have to choose between one of them. This leads to an overall decline in the birth rate.
The silver economy, which describes the development of the economy for the share of people aged over 65, is also an opportunity for Europeto create new industries with great economic potential.
Healthy ageing1 can contribute to keeping older people in the economy for longer, and also enable them to participate more fully in society.
The Netherlands is one of the Member States experiencing an age pyramid that is increasing upside down, with a growing proportion of older people and a shrinking proportion of younger people. The following three graphs show the composition of the Dutch population in 1950, 2019, and the forecast for 2100.
Population of the Netherlands in 1950, 2019 and the forecast for 2100As a result, the proportion of workers is getting older and fewer people are entering the labour market. In the Netherlands, different regions (Groningen/Drenthe, Limburg and Zeeland) are facing a variety of problems related to local population decline, population ageing, migration, labour shortages, and qualification gaps. To combat this phenomenon, one of the measures that are currently being implemented in many European countries is an increase in the retirement age.In the Netherlands, for instance, the retirement age will gradually rise from 66 years and 7 months to 67 years by 2024. From 2028, it will be increased to 67 years and 3 months. This will ensure that people work longer, pay into the pension system for a longer time and that there are more people active in the labour market in general.
The topic is based on the question: “What measures can Member States take to accommodate the economy and societal structures of the old-age population?” In the current situation, there are many challenges that play into the difficulty of the ageing population. Not only in the Netherlands, but among most European countries. On one hand, there is a poor compatibility of work and family life, and a certain unattractiveness of having children at all. Furthermore, the pension and social security systems are facing great challenges due to the increase in claims and the decrease in funding. In addition, people, young as well as old, can become victims of age discrimination in the workplace. As of 2021, the share of people aged 65 and over was 20.8% in the European Union, and the EU and its Member States are trying to find solutions such as raising the retirement age, just like the example of the Netherlands, encouraging immigration or adapting social systems.
Demographic change can also impact Europe’s position in the world. Especially because, due to the increase in the older age group, the population share and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will become comparatively smaller. Therefore, the European Commission has a special interest in Europe being united on every level, from the individuals to its Member States. It focuses on sustaining the economy by getting more people into jobs and increasing the productivity of the workforce. Furthermore, health and care systems have to adapt further, and the European Commission considers how to fund higher age-related public spending.
generally aim for economic growth and stability. The main objectives of national demographic policies are to maintain and develop prosperity, to maintain and, at the same time, to promote social unity, and to guarantee the financial capability of the respective state and social systems to act in the long term. To achieve this, measures such as adjusting the retirement age will not be sufficient in the long term. Instead, far-reaching structural and social reforms will be necessary for some Member States.
supports the development of social and physical environments and promotes healthy ageing. The Demographic Change and Healthy Ageing Unit (DHA) provides leadership on these issues, develops norms and standards, builds national capacity to address these issues and promotes global advocacy.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
is an international organisation that aims to shape policies that foster prosperity, equality, opportunity and well-being for all. In context, it supports governments and organisations in implementing employment and skills development programmes. Furthermore, the OECD aims to outline development scenarios in the context of demographic change to facilitate the adoption of appropriate guidelines.
The common retirement age3 in the EU is 65, but there are differences between Member States. For example, people in France retire at 62, whereas in Italy at 67. A state can use the retirement age as a tool to have a slight impact on the number of working people in the labour market. In most Member States, an increase in the retirement age is projected due to the ageing population, and in some places, retirement ages of 70+ are already being debated. The problem with raising the retirement age is above all that there are professions in which people often cannot work until old age due to both physical and mental exhaustion.
The Skilled Immigration Act
In 2020, the German government passed “The skilled Immigration Act”. This is intended to make it easier for skilled workers from non-EU countries to migrate to Germany and contribute to the national workforce. Skilled workers are those who have completed vocational training in Germany or abroad that is roughly equivalent to German training. This will make it easier for immigrants to enter the German labour market and social systems.
Inversed age pyramid
After the Second World War, the European population rose steadily until the 1970s. But due to the empowerment of women, a flourishing economy, an increase in the quality of education, and easier access to reliable contraceptives, the fertility rate has been falling since the seventies. Thus, there will soon be an inverted age pyramid, with fewer young people and more older people. In the long term, this will create a deficit of workers and specialists in European countries.
Good education in Europe does indeed increase the proportion of people with university degrees and qualified specialists in the labour market. However, it also increases people’s desire to take advantage of the career opportunities it offers. European citizens are therefore increasingly opting for the big career path rather than starting a family and raising children. This means that there is a lack of compatibility between work and family life.
In the 21st century, young people often have to face the decision between family or career.Because having a child and motherhood inevitably mean a period of absence, short or long-term, from the labour market. If this period of absence is too protracted, the return to work is even more difficult. The fact that people have to face this decision leads to an overall decline in the birth rate in industrialised countries.
Parental leave and paternity leave allow many families to take time off to care for and raise their children. Thereafter, they are guaranteed a return to their old position or a similar one. On the other hand, this time away from work is unpaid. This means that many people cannot afford not to work for three to four months to spend time with their families.Another challenge in child raising is the lack of kindergarten places in European countries. According to the Bertelsmann Foundation, there is a shortage of 384,000 kindergarten places in Germany alone for the year 2023. Since the demand for care cannot be met here, the burden falls back on parents alone.
Deficits of current social systems among European countries[EFN_NOTE]What measures do you think are most crucial for adjusting the social and pension systems?[/EFN_NOTE]
Most pension systems in the EU are pay-as-you-go. This means that the working part of the population pays into the pension insurance and retired people can draw their pensions accordingly. However, as there are increasingly fewer payers and increasingly more recipients of benefits in the future, this system is at risk of collapse, with older people under threat of drifting into poverty. While, for instance, in 2013 in Germany, about three people of working age financed one pensioner, in 2030 there will already only be 2.5 payers per recipient5.
In this context, the ratio that depicts the number of people at an age when they are generally inactive in the labour market compared to the number of people of working age is called the old-age dependency ratio. The OECD predicts for Italy that in 2075 67% of people will be economically inactive while only 33% will be working.Moreover, older people are more likely to suffer from physical and chronic diseases, which increases the demand for healthcare. These chronic diseases include hearing loss, cataracts and refractive errors, back and neck pain and osteoarthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, depression and dementia. Under the influence of the ageing population, the current public health systems must be able to address the experiences and needs of older people, according to the WHO.
Moreover, older people are more likely to suffer from physical and chronic diseases, which increases the demand for healthcare. These chronic diseases include hearing loss, cataracts and refractive errors, back and neck pain and osteoarthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, depression and dementia. Under the influence of the ageing population, the current public health systems must be able to address the experiences and needs of older people, according to the WHO.
In the G20 countries, employers’ negative attitudes towards older workers often become an obstacle to a long working life. This form of discrimination limits the pool of experience and talent. Discrimination has a retarding effect and negatively impacts economic growth and the well-being of younger and older workers alike. This can lead to older people already limiting their job search and not considering all options or even giving up completely. On the other hand, younger people may be accused of inexperience or unreliability as an obstacle to recruitment or promotion, regardless of their actual talent.
One conceivable measure in the future would be pension funds, meaning investing in shares. This can be done at the level of private households, but also at the state level. The European Central Bank is already collecting statistical data on the balance sheets of pension funds to be able to better analyse the impact on the wealth of private households.
Encouragement to retain and hire older people
To tackle age discrimination and possible stereotypes against older employees on the part of employers, it is important to encourage them to recruit and retain older workers. This requires taking measures against age discrimination and finding ways to facilitate recruitment by reducing labour costs. In addition, employment protection for workers can be revised, and age management practices promoted to improve the productivity of older employees.
individual learning accounts
The European Council recommends that Member States establish individual learning accounts. These are intended to help people participate in labour market-relevant trainingto enable them to access or remain in employment. These learning accounts should provide people with a budget to improve their skills and employability throughout their lives. Regardless of whether they are employed or not. The EU’s target is that 60% of all adults participate in training annually by 2030.
The Silver Economy refers to the economic share of people aged 65 and older.According to the European Commission, by 2060, one in three Europeans will be over 65. By 2025, the Silver Economy is expected to contribute €5.7 trillion to the European economy.
The Silver Economy will redefine the rules for existing market operators in Europe. At the intersection of demographic and technological change, new industries will emerge that are expected to create huge export potential. According to the Commission, cross-policy measures are needed to facilitate the growth of the Silver Economy and to accelerate the benefits for older people. Active and healthy ageing can ensure that people not only remain more active and better integrated into society. They can also continue to work and learn new things for several more years.A study commissioned by the European Commission proposes five recommendations, each of which has the potential to boost the European silver economy, both consumption and economic output. These recommendations include the technological and digital development of the healthcare sector, supporting healthy ageing, solutions for better mobility of older people, increasing the active participation of older people in the labour market and increasing the innovation of products and services targeted towards independent living.