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Europe’s response to “demographic winter” must be a cross-sectorial approach to social, labour and migration policies

 Policies must be developed to address the current decline in fertility, known as the “European demographic winter”, and curb the negative effects of population ageing, as declared today by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), while adopting a resolution on the basis of a report by Kristin Johnsen (Norway, EPP/CD).

“The Assembly is convinced that in order to respond to the present population challenges in Europe, a cross-sectorial approach to social, labour market and immigration policies should be applied”. Implementing strategies aiming to increase the average global birth rate, developing health-care policies and promoting better balance between family and working life, were encouraged by the Assembly.

The Assembly also raised concerns about the negative impact of rural exodus of young populations and emigration from some eastern European countries on development and on the social situation of migrant families.

The Assembly invited member states to “develop, as required, forward-looking migration policies, including safe transport of persons, to attract qualified migrants”, by encouraging, for instance, the rapid entry of regular migrants into the labour market while responding to their integration challenges. This can be done for example by eliminating obstacles “from national legislation”, “promoting vocational training” for refugees and migrants, and “enhancing public information on the economic benefits of legal migration and cultural diversity for society”, as identified by the Assembly.