Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-11-19-Speech-3-381"

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"Sadly, population ageing and population shrinkage are the inescapable future of Europe. Demographers say that the birth rate will not ensure generational replacement, while average life expectancy will increase. The low birth rate is associated with the difficulty of combining professional work with family life – we lack the necessary number of crèches and kindergartens, as well as economic support for families. By the end of 2030, the ratio of working to non-working population will probably reach 2:1. Mitigating the consequences of the shrinkage of working population through immigration is only one possible solution. It will also lead to increased ethnic, cultural and religious diversity. We must therefore raise employment levels among the disabled and older people (by arranging for training and retraining). Retirement must also be made more flexible, through the introduction of voluntary retirement, change of employment and the use of new technologies. Member States must also conduct a balanced financial policy, dividing the tax burden fairly between workers, consumers and businesses. Demographic changes will have a major impact on public expenditure on retirement and old age pensions, which can be mitigated by being partly privately funded. Expenditure on health care will also rise. In the circumstances, providing the populations of Member States with health care and appropriate benefits delivered at an appropriate level is a task requiring immediate action on many social and governmental levels."@en1

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