EUROPE – “Pensions will feel the pressure” as Europe’s working population falls, Anna Diamantopoulou of the European Commission has warned.

Speaking in Frankfurt this week, Diamantopoulou, European Commissioner responsible for employment and social affairs, said that the labour force must be increased.

She pointed out that, by 2030, Europe’s working population will fall by 23 million, and “pensions will feel the pressure.”

“Without more people participating in the labour force, our health and pensions systems will become unsustainable,” she warned.

Diamantopoulou highlighted the importance of reintegrating all under-employed groups into the workforce, particularly older people, women and migrants.

With regards to a longer working life, she said: “We need to bring our populations back into balance. And with many of today’s 60-year olds as fit as a person of 40 before the second World War, there are few good reasons why healthy people in their 60s should not be working longer.”

If the correct policy measures are taken on board in good time, Diamantopoulou believes that the social and economic implications of Europe’s “greying population” should be more manageable.

This could be achieved, she said, by: promoting proactive policies in support of human capital development and education and training; and using social protection resources more effectively to increase work participation.

Diamantopoulou was giving an address on employment and social policy at the University of Frankfurt.