After dedicating 2011 to volunteering, the European Commission has decided to put senior citizens in the spotlight, spotlighting active aging and intergenerational solidarity as the themes of European Year 2012.
At a time when Europe faces the gradual aging of its population, (higher life expectancy and decreased birth rates in a number of Member States), promoting active aging is part of the Europe 2020 strategy, specifically with the goal of reaching a 75% employment rate among the working-age population by 2020. Demographic change and its consequences on social protection are not new, but the crisis and the resulting trend towards budgetary austerity make these issues much more important in today’s society.
To promote active aging and solidarity among generations, the three main goals of European Year 2012 are the following:
– Raise awareness in public opinion as to the role of senior citizens in society and the economy, by supporting active aging.
– Support debate and mutual learning among EU countries to encourage best practices and promote cooperation.
– Propose a framework for commitment and action to help Member States and stakeholders design specific activities and establish new policy goals.
This initiative must first and foremost encourage policymakers and stakeholders at all levels to adopt measures promoting active aging. These programs should allow senior citizens to continue working, remain healthy longer and take advantage of other means to maintain an active role in society