Demographic changes: challenge for Europe

Study session for young unionists from Europe was orgasnised by the ETUC in the Youth Centre of the Council of Europe on 8-13 September, in Strasbourg. This year the study session was extended to participation of young unionists from the PERC region.

Approximately 30 participants from different European Countries took part in the activity, discussing the most pressing demographic issues in the contexts of different European countries. Different elements were raised, including

- growing burdens on working populations linked with higher life expectancy and the dependency ratio;

- lowering fertility rates linked with challenge for working women and men to find a balance between family and career aspirations;

- migration processes that bring risks of social dumping and brain and skills drain, which, however, can, at least partly, help in sustaining the labour force in developed countries;

- growing "generations" gap and issues of youth unemployment and work precariousity, need to ensure balance between education and workplace experiences.

Certain "perculiar" situations were mentioned: low male life expectancy in Russia and Ukraine due to high mortality rate, including work related rates; uncared children in Romania due to exodus of working age population to other countries; closed schools due to insufficient subscribtion rates, integration mechanisms for CEE migrants in UK and others.

The group has drafted a resolution to be submitted to the ETUC Youth Committee.

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