The European Commission is currently drafting a Green Paper on Ageing, which should be published in the first quarter 2021. The Green Paper will build on the findings of the June Report on the Impact of Demographic Change, which spotted ageing as one of the future challenges for rural Europe.
As the European Commission opened a roadmap to feedback this December, Euromontana shared its reflections and recommendations. Ageing is a growing issue in some mountain regions, in particular in rural areas losing attractiveness and experiencing a strong youth out-migration and depopulation. Of the 6 oldest regions in Europe, 4 are mountainous: Evrytania (Greece), Ourense (Spain), Creuse (France) and Alto Tâmega (Portugal) all have more than 30% of their population over the age of 65 (Eurostat, Ageing Europe, 2020).
Euromontana therefore encourages the European Commission to take into account the territorial dimensions and challenges of ageing in its Green Paper in order to implement territorial development strategies that address older adults’ needs, especially by:
- Ensuring access to basic services by proposing measures to end medical desertification, facilitating patients’ care in cross-border regions and encouraging the development of transport in mountain areas, including multimodality and adapted on-demand transport.
- Supporting the development of the Silver Economy sector, including in rural areas through the CAP’s Rural Development Programmes, Cohesion Policy’ Operational Programmes and through the SMEs competitiveness policy of the European Commission. The 70 good practices collected by the Interreg Europe project SILVER SMEs demonstrated how important are the businesses from the Silver Economy to provide adapted goods and services and fight isolation in rural and mountainous areas.
- Promoting the role of older adults in community life in particular through volunteering, social innovation and rural development local initiatives.
Earlier in June 2020, Euromontana already shared more detailed recommendations with Dubravka Šuica, European Commission Vice-President and Commissioner responsible for Democracy & Demography, who is in charge of the Green Paper on Ageing. Find all our recommendations in: “Ageing in mountain areas – Contributions of Euromontana for the Green Paper on Ageing“.15 December 2020