Present and future of EU policy for older persons

Conference on the Present and future of EU policy for older persons

With the support of the Spanish presidency of the Council of the EU

29 November 2023, 9.30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Europa room, European Commission representation to Spain - 46, P. de la Castellana / E- 28046 Madrid (Spain)


In recent years, the European Union (EU) has been putting in place ambitious and effective policies to respond to the challenges that older people encounter in their daily lives.
This is a very topical issue: in 2070 an estimated[1] 30% of the population will be aged 65 or over (as against 20.3% in 2019) and the number of people in need of long-term care will increase from 30.8 million in 2019 to 38.1 million in 2050.
In this context, the EU has also made progress in adopting policies to support the prevention of older people being excluded and to promote their involvement as part of the production fabric; however, much remains to be done.

While the rights of older people have been addressed by a number of policies, the EESC believes there should be more focus on dependent older people with long-term care needs and this should be integrated into EU policymaking in view of the demographic transition[2]. Attention has also been drawn to the living conditions of people providing long-term care to people with disabilities and older people, among other vulnerable groups[3]. On 7 December 2022, the EESC held a conference on The European Care Strategy: challenges and the way forward.

The EESC believes there is a need for a strategic framework, with a holistic approach, laying the foundations for a long-lived, active, healthy society and a European pact on intergenerational solidarity.
Further to this work, the EESC – at the request of the Spanish Presidency – has adopted an opinion[4] which supports the adoption of a new European strategy and sets out a series of proposals for its development.

For this reason, the EESC is holding a half-day conference in the framework of the Spanish Presidency of the EU to discuss and present the political avenues for a European strategy for older people, drawing on the lessons and policy tools that have succeeded in supporting other groups at risk of exclusion across Europe over the years.

To this end, the conference will focus on the economic and demographic potential of active ageing, as well as on the social and human rights aspects.

If European policies underpin an active and healthy society of older people, this will make it possible to maintain a labour force – with invaluable experience and know-how – on the labour market.

Thanks to the silver economy, the economic resources of older people could be used to create opportunities and means for achieving higher levels of sustainable economic growth, leading to an increase in productive employment. The potential of older people as consumers and generators of economic and social value could also be promoted through commercial and non-commercial productive activities, boosting new professions, intergenerational social capital and the transfer of knowledge and economic dynamics through accumulated savings. In short, it would make it possible to address the needs of older people and boost the economy, in an inclusive manner and by promoting innovative solutions that facilitate their inclusion, participation and social well-being.


The event includes an opening session, followed by two panels on specific topics.
Aim of the conference:

  • to explore policy tools and responses to the specific social and economic challenges faced by older people;
  • to disseminate the proposals made by the EESC in its relevant opinions on this topic.

Specific issues to be addressed at the conference:

  • how European older people's movements view the progress achieved so far;
  • presentation of current and future challenges;
  • recommendations for future European policy measures.

[1] European Commission 2020 report on the impact of demographic change.

[2] Towards a new care model for older people: learning from COVID-19 (SOC/687).

[3] The role of family members caring for the elderly or people with disabilities: the explosion of the phenomenon during the pandemic (SOC/730).

[4] European Strategy for Older Persons (SOC 757).