A key challenge for Europe is its ageing population. It is a major societal challenge (in terms of public budgets, workforce, competitiveness and quality of life) but also a major opportunity for new jobs and growth.
The Silver Economy covers new market opportunities arising from public and consumer expenditure related to the rights, needs and demands of the (growing) population over 50. Merrill Lynch estimates the global Silver Economy will grow from $7 trillion per year to $15 trillion by 2020 (see The Silver Dollar - Longevity Revolution Primer 9.4 MB ). Public spending on ageing in the EU accounts for 25% of GDP and 50% of general government expenditure and is projected to grow by 4% of GDP until 2060 (see the Commission's 2015 Ageing report).
Europe is well placed to benefit from the world-wide ageing trend, amongst others because the large public sector involvement allows to effectively apply public money to foster new markets and enhance growth potential. Also it has competitive strengths in several economic sectors related to health and social care and their ICT-related subsectors.
To respond to the ageing challenge requires to work across portfolios and sectors. A number of DGs of the European Commission already pursue Silver Economy policy initiatives, e.g. on eHealth, active and healthy ageing, senior tourism and age-friendly housing. To optimise synergies and impact, steps have been taken towards a joined up Silver Economy Strategy.
A series of follow up actions are being developed to take forward the Silver Economy Strategy in Europe:
- An Initiative on age-friendly homes was launched in March 2016. The overall aim is lead to a European reference framework for age-friendly digital homes.
- A 12-month study on Silver Economy market opportunities was launched early 2016 to identify specific actions. This study will offer an overview of Silver Economy related initiatives, it will develop ten promising Silver Economy cases where ICT and innovation can create new jobs and economic growth, and it will develop policy recommendations at EU level regarding how to grow the European Silver Economy.
- Implementation of the EIP-AHA Scaling-Up Strategy 184 KB
- Work on a 'Blueprint on Digital innovation for Europe's ageing society in the 21st Century' is ongoing. The Blueprint will mobilise a European innovation ecosystem around a shared-vision of easing the journey of emerging digital "innovation to market", promote access to finance for innovators active in the Silver Economy and support the mobilisation of structural funds through smart specialisation.