Labour MEP Professor Edward Scicluna on Friday 9th November took time out from his very busy schedule and joined around sixty school children and their grandparents in a bowling game. This activity was organised by the European Parliament Valletta Office to celebrate the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations 2012. Prof Scicluna enjoyed meeting so many active senior citizens in such a pleasant and relaxing activity.
Bowling ma’ l-Ewroparlamentari
L-Ewroparlamentari Laburista l-Professur Edward Scicluna nhar il-Ġimgħa 9 ta’ Novembru ingħaqad ma’ sittin anzjani lkoll nanniet u n-neputijiet tagħhom f’logħba bowling. Din l-attivita’ ġiet organiżżata mill-Uffiċju tal-Parlament Ewropew f’Malta bħala parti mill-attivitajiet li qed isiru f’din is-Sena Ewropea għal Anzjanita’ Attiva u s-Solidarjeta bejn il-Ġenerazzjonijiet 2012. Il-Professur Scicluna ħa pjaċir ħafna jiltaqa’ ma’ l-anzjani li pparteċipaw f’din l-attivita’ sportiva u rilassanti.
MEPs, children and grandparents try their hand at a game of bowling
The European Year 2012 covers three dimensions of active ageing:
Active ageing in employment: Encouraging older workers to stay in employment requires notably the improvement of working conditions and their adaptation to the health status and needs of older workers, updating their skills by providing better access to life long learning and the review of tax and benefit systems to ensure that there are effective incentives for working longer.
Participation in society: Improving the opportunities and conditions for older people to contribute to society as volunteers or family carers and to participate in society, thus avoiding social isolation and many of the associated problems and risks.
Independent living: Health promotion and preventive health care through measures that maximise healthy life years and prevent dependency as well as making the environment (public buildings, infrastructure, transport, buildings) more age-friendly allowing older people to stay as independent as possible.
Since 1960, life expectancy has climbed by eight years and demographic projections foresee a further five-year increase over the next four or five decades. We are all living longer and, together with low birth rates, Europe’s population is ageing fast and it is happening all over the world, except in the poorest countries.
Population ageing presents a number of challenges for welfare systems and public finances. EU Member States spend, on average, more than a quarter of their GDP on social protection. Most of this goes on older people in the form of pensions, health and long-term care. The current economic crisis has left Member States with large public deficits and public debt burden just at a time when the post-war baby-boomers are entering their sixties and starting to retire. The key issue today is how to secure good social protection in an increasingly challenging economic and demographic context.
Active ageing is not just about the participation of older workers in the labour market, it is also about older workers actively contributing to society through voluntary work, including as family carers, or living independently thanks to adapted housing and infrastructure. It is also a central part of the EU’s Europe 2020 strategy and its efforts to reach the 75% employment target and to reduce the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion by at least 20 million by 2020.
These are the key results of a Eurobarometer survey on the subject, which was presented earlier this year:
- The majority of Europeans (71%) are aware that the population is getting older, but this is a concern for only 42%.
- Definitions of ‘old’ and ‘young’ differ across countries. On average, Europeans believe that people start being considered as old just before 64 years and are no longer considered young from the age of 41.8 years.
- Most Europeans consider that older people play a major role in society and especially within their families (82%), in politics (71%), in the local community (70%), or in the economy (67%).
- Only one in three Europeans believes that the official retirement age will have to increase by 2030.
- 61% of Europeans support the idea that people should be allowed to continue working once they have reached the official retirement age, and 53% reject the idea of a compulsory retirement age.
- According to Eurostat, the average exit age from the labour market is 61.5 years. However, 42% of Europeans believe that they would be capable of carrying out their current work till the age of 65 or beyond, whilst an additional 28% think they are able to continue their current work until the age of 60-64.
- One third of Europeans state that they would like to continue working after they reach the age when they are entitled to a pension.
- Part-time work combined with a partial pension would be more appealing than full retirement, to two thirds of Europeans.
- 27% of Europeans aged 55 and over engage in activities and voluntary work in a variety of organisations and devote on average 14 hours per month to such activities.
- 36% of Europeans aged 55 and over have, over the past 12 months, provided support informally to other people outside their household. 15% are currently taking care of an older family member, and another 42% have done so in the past.
- The majority of Europeans believe that their country and local area are ‘age-friendly’.
- In tackling the challenges of ageing populations, most respondents believe older people’s organisations and other NGOs, as well as religious organisations and churches, play the most important role.
– European Parliament Information, Office in Malta: 9th November 2012
Francesca Vella, Press Officer
– Friday, 9th November, 2012