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Demographic challenges for social cohesion

Recommendation 1749 (2006)

Parliamentary Assembly
Text adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of the Assembly, on 29 May 2006 (see Doc.10923, report of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population, rapporteur: Mrs Vera Oskina; and Doc. 10937, opinion of the Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee, rapporteur: Mr Michael Hancock).
1 The Parliamentary Assembly refers to its Resolution 1502 (2006) on demographic challenges for social cohesion.
2 It considers it probable that the recent, current and anticipated changes in relational and reproductive behaviour are due to the complex interrelationship between the rapid changes in the economic, cultural, ideological, social and technological spheres of advanced societies, and cannot be resolved by simple, unique, short-term policy measures. Increased attention must therefore be given to young adults who wish to live together and become parents. This requires child-friendly, women-friendly and family-friendly policies and services. Relations between work, including education, and family lives must be improved in most countries.
3 It is necessary to deal with the problems of population decline and excessive population ageing without endangering the fundamental human and societal goals and achievements in Europe. One crucial objective should be to make the young and old live together harmoniously. More intergenerational solidarity may well be a key element in this. One obvious measure to cope with population ageing appears to be to work longer.
4 Migration is an important demographic factor which must be taken into account for population policies and social cohesion policies. The challenge is to achieve orderly migration management and good integration policies, responding to labour market needs and to immigrants’ aspirations.
5 The Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers:
5.1 take account of Resolution 1502 (2006) on demographic challenges for social cohesion in the Council of Europe’s work regarding social affairs in the broadest sense of the term, and in particular:
5.1.1 ask the Steering Committee on Social Cohesion (CDCS) to support a more family-friendly environment, in order to address the ongoing changes and the “de-institutionalisation” of the family structure, and to stimulate the implementation of policies for promoting active ageing, in order to guarantee intergenerational equilibrium;
5.1.2 ask the European Committee on Migration (CDMG) to accelerate the development of effective, integrated policies to prevent the discrimination and social exclusion of immigrants; and seek to guarantee the basic rights of those individuals and groups in society that are at particular risk of becoming vulnerable;
5.2 ensure that any work in this sector can draw upon relevant demographic data and, in this connection, ensure the availability of the European Population Network of the Council of Europe, inter alia for the regular publication of studies on European population trends;
5.3 continue to ensure access by policy makers to information on future demographic processes, and the consequences for the design of their medium- and long-term social policies;
5.4 make the work and findings of the European Population Conference 2005 available to member states and other socio-economic partners and institutions for their work on the actions carried out in the areas covered by the conference;
5.5 re-assess the relations between the Council of Europe’s work in different areas and the need for adequate demographic background studies, and take steps to support such studies;
5.6 encourage national statistical organisations and demographic institutes to periodically conduct nation-wide specialised sample surveys in order to collect the information required to study the effects of relevant factors, including policy measures, on demographic processes;
5.7 encourage closer co-operation among the international research institutions dispersed around Europe for analysing and monitoring population developments and population-related policies in view of the need for broader, more sophisticated scientific discussions on these trends;
5.8 promote the collection, dissemination and use of demographic data at local and regional level, especially for use in defining social cohesion policies;
5.9 invite all the intergovernmental bodies and programmes of the Council of Europe to use and properly exploit available statistical information on population trends and developments where relevant. The annual publication of the Council of Europe entitled Recent demographic developments in Europe should be maintained, supported and reinforced in this perspective.