Written by Angelos Delivorias
Demography, the statistical study of human populations, attracts the attention of politicians, academics, business and the media. Aspects such as the growth and ageing of a population, urbanisation, migration and the state of the labour market, as well as the impact of their interplay on the economic and social situation of countries cause concerns, and demand appropriate strategies and policies.
Europe is currently undergoing significant challenges: its population is growing at a slow pace and ageing rapidly; its workforce is shrinking and it is projected that in the future there will be fewer low-skilled jobs but more low-skilled workers, while there may not be enough suitable candidates for high-skilled jobs, such as those in science and technology. The current economic crisis has increased unemployment and led to the shrinking of the middle class and an increase in persons at risk of poverty or social exclusion. Finally, while migration is still substantial and partly compensates for population decline, there are signs that it may slow down and possibly shift towards other countries with strong growth. These trends present an opportunity for debate on concepts such as ‘working age’, and for the adoption of well‐designed comprehensive policies that will strengthen social cohesion and promote solidarity between generations.
These issues and, particularly the implications for European policy of population ageing, childhood development, and migration, will be discussed at the EPRS roundtable debate taking place on Tuesday, 24 March 2015 at 18:30 in the Altiero Spinelli building of the European Parliament (EPRS Library Reading Room). The ‘Demographic Change in Europe’ event is jointly organised by the Parliamentary Research Service, the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities (ALLEA) and the European Science Foundation.
Professor Günter Stock, President of the All European Academies and co-editor of the comprehensive study ‘A future with children’ will deliver the welcome speech.
Professor Ursula Staudinger is the Director of the Butler Columbia Aging Center and Robert N. Butler Professor of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University. She is a lifespan psychologist and one of her recent contributions has included a joint statement of eight European Academies on ‘Mastering Demographic Change in Europe’.
Professor James Vaupel is the Executive Director of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research and winner of the 2011 European Latsis Prize for his contributions to research on ageing and lifespan, and his profound influence on demographic research.
Franck Debié is the Head of the Long Term Trends team in the European Parliament’s Secretary General Office. He is an Associate Professor of Political Geography at Ecole Normale Supérieure (Paris) and teaches in the Sorbonne/ENS Master of Geopolitics. He also served as the Executive Director of the Fondation pour l’Innovation politique, a Paris based think tank with a strong focus on foresight.
The debate will be chaired by Danuta Jazłowiecka. Mrs Jazłowiecka is an Member of the European Parliament since 2009. She specialises in mobility issues, is the former rapporteur of the Posting of workers Enforcement Directive and the current Vice-Chair of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs.