Conference organised by the Various Interests Group of the EESC in Dublin to mark Ireland's 40 years of membership of the EU
Over the last 10 years, the EESC has proposed an important number of opinions on the ageing of the European population and issued opinions on issues such as: the needs of older citizens, funding health and pension systems, employing older workers, intergenerational solidarity, technological solutions to improve the quality of life of older persons, long-term care, etc.
The EESC has been particularly active during the European Year 2012. It created a group to coordinate activities related to the Year. This group has organised 5 public events on different themes.
The European labour market is facing major challenges. We need to tackle the persisting economic and social crisis, and at the same time we are facing a huge demographic challenge. We have an ageing workforce and the number of people in "employment age" will decrease in the years to come.
Crisis or not, we are now working in an open trading area, and in a globalised world. Europe will not build a sustainable society that is prosperous in the long term without the rest of the world. We need to share the same objectives even if we don't use the same tools.
As an open globalised economy we must TOGETHER identify and share good practices. It is in all our interests.
The role of entrepreneurs in channelling such investment for economic recovery is key to ensuring a competitive and dynamic economy. To make sure that this renewed economy is sustainable in the future, we must invest in education in entrepreneurship.
We must focus on untapped human capital. This mainly means young people, women, older workers, migrants and other vulnerable groups.
Event organised by the Internationaler Bund, Berlin, Germany
A lot has happened both in the EU and in the countries of its close neighbourhood since the EU-led Black Sea Synergy initiative providing scope for regional cooperation was launched (in 2008).
A lot has evolved since the last Black Sea NGO Forum took place.
What did not change however is a vital need for civil society active engagement and mobilization of all parts of our societies to act together.
Europe's youth is its future. However, many young people do not have a job or lack the appropriate skills. The problems experienced by young people on the labour market are structural in nature and have been apparent for many years, even before the onset of the current crisis. The economic crisis, which we have been experiencing since 2008, has exacerbated the problems of young people. Unemployment in the 15-24 age group is more than twice as high as for the economically active population as a whole and nearly three times as high as among economically active adults.
Final conclusions of the conference
This conference is very timely; demographic trends pose major challenges to the labour market. It suffers from structural problems. Young people, in particular, find it difficult to gain a footing in the labour market, despite skills they have. It is not only the case in Europe. It is also a major problem in Tunisia, where the demographic trend is the opposite: it is a very young population with high skills and no jobs.