The Basque Country conveys the proposals from the autonomous communities as regards demographic challenges to the European Union’s Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO)
- At the six-monthly representation of the autonomous communities in Brussels
The Basque Government Department of Employment and Social Policy has conveyed the common position of the Autonomous Communities as regards “Demographic Challenges” to the European Union’s Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO). The autonomous communities’ contributions may be admitted in the conclusions that the Council will approve in June. The Basque Country represents the autonomous communities of Spain in this current six-month period, as regards this subject, in Brussels.
“For the Autonomous Communities, demographic change is, along with the fight against climate change, technological transformation, and recovery from the socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the major challenges facing the European Union on a short, medium, and long-term basis”, the Deputy Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs, Marcos Muro, explained.
“For this reason, we encourage the EU to incorporate the demographic challenge in its political priorities, to include it horizontally when developing all European policies. This challenge forms part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)”, the Deputy Minister added.
According to the Autonomous Communities’ proposal that has been conveyed to Brussels: “the combination of factors such as the increase in life expectancy, the fall in birth rates and the regulation of migration flows within people’s right to migrate, changes our lifestyle and leads us to a clear scenario. We live in an ageing society that is only going to continue to age. This demographic change affects sustainability, economic growth, the labour market, pensions, taxation, investment, care, etc. Furthermore, ageing has an impact on health and healthcare, social services, on the composition and organisation of families, inter-generational solidarity and on housing.”
“We consider it crucial to promote active and healthy ageing, taking into account the different starting positions and needs of elderly men and women, which will enable them to play an active role in their social and family life through voluntary and recreational activities, lifelong learning or cultural activities, and which will promote healthy living habits related to food, physical exercise and mental and emotional preparation”, as stated in the paper drawn up by the autonomous delegations.
The Autonomous Communities have welcomed the invitation from the Council to the European Commission to launch a comprehensive reflection (Green Paper) on ageing populations and their full implications, including their long-term effects on the economy and society in the European Union; and for a suitable strategy to be prepared that will offer a differentiated proposal for rural areas and other regions that are more greatly affected by depopulation. “On the same line”, Muro points out, “the Autonomous Communities feel it is necessary to demand a demographic impact report as an essential document in all the measures carried out through the different community financial instruments. This will guarantee coherent instrumentalization of policies and efficient public-private action that is invaluable in tackling the challenge.”
“Among other points, we particularly call for the perspective of equality between men and women to be included in the Council Conclusions. We also feel that the key to success in meeting the demographic challenges lies in the effective multi-level coordination and collaboration between the national, sub-national and local government levels. In this regard, the Communities and Regions call on the European Union institutions to effectively take the municipalities, regions and sub-national governments into account and count on them when it comes to defining and planning demographic and rural development policies, giving them support so that they can integrate sufficient studies, debates, planning and budgets to ensure that Europe, by 2030, has a unified and clearly defined action in place in this area of development and cohesion”, Marcos Muro summarised.