Green paper on ageing

In “A New Push for European Democracy”

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On 29 January 2020, the European Commission published its work programme. Under the sixth priority - 'A New Push for European Democracy' - the Commission announced its intention to launch a non-legislative initiative on the subject.

The Green paper on ageing, adopted on 27 January 2021, launched a debate on one of the defining demographic transformations in Europe. The paper highlighted the importance of healthy and active ageing and lifelong learning as the two concepts that can enable a thriving ageing society. Active ageing necessitates promoting healthy lifestyles throughout our lives, including consumption and nutrition patterns, as well as encouraging physical and social activity.

Lifelong learning means acquiring and updating of skills helping people to remain employable and succeed in job transitions. In order to tackle the problem of a shrinking working age population, the EU and the Member States should promote policies bringing more people (such as women, migrants, people with disabilities, older people) on the labour market, as well as enable longer working lives and improve productivity.

In order to bring more people in the 55-64 age group on the labour market, useful means might be postponing retirements, improving working conditions for older workers (for instance through better digital connectivity), or giving subsidies for companies hiring older workers and encouraging senior entrepreneurship.

The potential of less developed regions should also be exploited.

The paper also raises the importance of improving wellbeing through intergenerational solidarity.

The European Parliament in its resolution of 7 July 2021 on an "Old continent growing older – possibilities and challenges related to ageing policy post-2020" (rapporteur Beata SZYDŁO, ECR, Poland) called on the Commission and Member States to strengthen their efforts to combat all forms of discrimination against older people and promote a positive perception of old age in society and the social inclusion of older people.

Further recommendations concerned the establishment of a European Year of intergenerational solidarity and active ageing, as well as the accessibility of longterm care for older people, in particular women, and measures to promote active ageing. Parliament also stressed the need to strengthen the digital skills of older people and ensure a decent standard of living and called for an EU strategy for the care sector and for an EU charter for the rights of older people. 

The Commission responded to Parliament's resolution on 26 November 2021.

Furthermore, on 11 October 2023, the Commission published a communication entitled “Demographic change in Europe: a toolbox for action" that lists EU instuments available to Member States to manage the demographic change in the EU.  


Author: Marketa Pape, Members' Research Service,

As of 20/10/2023.