Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Improving family policy across Member States: Hearing discusses problem of ageing population

The EESC has conducted a hearing on 'The role of family policy in demographic change: Sharing best practice among Member States'. Held on March 21, this meeting consulted a range of perspectives from a number of stakeholders on family matters, with a view to improving and sharing practices between Member States. The hearing was organised at the request of the Hungarian Presidency, to target the problem of how to give tangible recognition to the substantial contribution that families make to society.

In his opening address, Staffan Nilsson, EESC President said: "Europe must set an example in matters of intergenerational equity and solidarity and the problem of ageing population is both a challenge and an opportunity for Europe".

The hearing was chaired by Luca Jahier, President of the EESC Various Interests' Group and included presentations from Miklós Soltész, Hungarian Minister of State for Social, Family and Youth Affairs and Anna Záborská, Chair of the Intergroup on Family, Protection of Childhood and Solidarity between the Generations. There were also contributions from experts, contrasting the experience of different Member States.

According to the EESC, the social and economic benefits of the family should be appreciated. Insufficient support for families could result in a substantial increase in costs, especially in terms of welfare services.

Demographic challenges need to be quickly tackled by providing incentives to work and viewing older people as an asset rather than a burden. The Committee is also committed to looking ahead and is already working with the future Polish presidency on demography and the labour market. Furthermore, it intends to support the idea of proclaiming 2014 as a European Year for families.

The Hungarian Presidency took the chance of this hearing to launch at EU level its thematic week "Europe for families, Families for Europe" which will be organised next week in Budapest and which will be concluded by an Informal Council of Ministers for family, to which the Committee will present the results of the hearing and its own contribution.

More information, contact:

For more information please contact:

Barbara Gessler, EESC Press Unit,

Tel.:+32 2 546 8066;


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