Umeå, Västerbotten (S), 2 June 2008
What can European regions do to boost fertility rates? What should they be doing for elderly care? How can regions support active healthy ageing? And how can regional policy and budgeting address the challenges posed by demographic change?
These were just some of the questions addressed today at an Assembly of European Regions’ (AER) seminar, hosted in Umeå by the Västerbotten region of Sweden. Around 50 politicians, officers and experts from over 20 European regions and organisations attended the seminar.
Rather than simply focusing on well-worn statistics and broad demographic challenges, AER’s member regions tackled these issues from a fresh perspective by exploring the ideas and experiences of individual regions. Moderated by two Swedish representatives of AER’s Youth Ambassador program, the seminar demonstrated the kind of dynamic approach needed to put this often-neglected issue firmly on the political map.
Rasmus Molund, AER Youth Ambassador (Jämtland, Sweden)
‘We are focusing too much on the risks and not on the opportunities offered by demographic change.’
Ourania Georgoutsakou, AER Senior Policy Co-ordinator for ‘Health and Social Affairs’
‘Today’s seminar is really about action, it’s about asking politicians, what are you concretely going to do to respond to these challenges? When are you going to stop talking about the fact that we are all growing older and start to allocate budgets for these issues?’
Dr. Claudia Hübner, Minister for Demographic Change, Baden-Württemberg (D)
‘People must be sensitized to the importance of demographic change – exchanging ideas and experiences at the local level and then communicating that information to the public is essential.’
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