Migration will not provide a long-term solution to Europe’s ageing crisis. Instead, policymakers must focus on getting people to have more babies while working ‘longer and better’, business leaders declared at the European Business Summit.
The challenge is to rejuvenate Europe’s population, increase the number of workers and keep them working longer, said an all-male panel of policymakers, business leaders and trade union representatives, at a conference on ‘(Baby) booming Europe’s workforce’, at the European Business Summit on 15-16 March 2007.
The majority of participants at the event, moderated by EURACTIV Publisher Christophe Leclercq, agreed that policymakers can have an impact on demographic evolution.
Speakers agreed that if they are to meet the challenge, they will have to ensure decent working conditions, make it easier to combine work and family life, and support lifelong learning schemes. Reforms to countries’ social-protection systems will also be needed in order to guarantee sustainable public finances.
Immigration also remains an option, although Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Vladimir Špidla pointed out that “immigration is neither a panacea, nor the principal solution to our problems”.