European Commission targets “active ageing”

BELGIUM – The European Commission says active ageing is one of its 10 priorities to promote full employment, productivity and labour market inclusion.

And it has set a target for an increase in the effective average exit age from the labour market from 60 to 65 years in the European Union by 2010.

The Commission said the proposals were part of a “new, more results-oriented” employment strategy to help it contribute more effectively to delivering more jobs, better jobs and an inclusive labour market.

The proposals coincide with the release of so-called broad economic policy guidelines. “For the first time, the European Commission has today adopted its proposals for the broad economic policy guidelines and for the employment guidelines and recommendations on the same day, and in streamlined form, in order to ensure greater cohesion and effectiveness of the EU reform agenda in the medium term (2003-2005).”

Commission president Romano Prodi said: “Despite laudable progress in creating a Single Market and raising employment rates, much remains to be done to make the EU truly entrepreneurial and innovative and to create more and better jobs. The agenda has been set. It is now time to deliver.”

The Commission added that it hopes agreement on the package can be reached at the Council meeting of June 3 in Luxembourg. Anna Diamantopoulou, the commissioner for employment and social affairs, said the EU must create more than 15 million new jobs by 2010 in order to achieve the goal of full employment.

The Commission says the full '10 commandments' are: aid unemployed find jobs, encourage entrepreneurship, promote adaptability, invest in human capital, promote active ageing, gender equality, combat discrimination, make work pay, reduce undeclared, promote occupational mobility.

Economic and financial affairs commissioner Pedro Solbes told the European Parliament in a speech yesterday that member states’ policy should ”facilitate labour mobility by giving individuals portable pension and social security rights”.

“Such measures need to be complemented by active labour-market policies, targeted at people who face the greatest difficulties in finding a job,” Solbes added.

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