Demographic Change: New Opportunities in Shrinking Europe

Background and Aim

The central aim of the project was to make the North Sea Region ready to cope with its demographic future. That meat both dealing with the negative effects of demographic change and at the same time taking advantage of the economic and social opportunities offered by this process.

Within DC NOISE transnational actions aimed to:

  • Develop and implement pilot actions tackling issues related to new approaches to service delivery
  • Develop actions revitalising declining towns and cities in response to demographic trends
  • Develop and implement pilot actions tackling opportunities and challenges for economic restructuring, particularly in the fields of health, care and leisure/tourism or social and labour market stabilisation.

Activities and objectives were aimed at raising awareness, finding possible solutions and, in co-operation with stakeholders, strategies and actions to deal with the consequences of demographic change.

Demographic change is now recognised as one of the three most significant challenges facing Europe and its regions. The urgency of the situation is highlighted in the Green Paper on Demographic Change (2005) which forecasts an increase in the number of people aged 65+ of more than 50% by 2030 with a reduction in natural population growth across nearly all EU regions.

Demographic change is a particular issue in the North Sea Region, and the implications of this are already becoming apparent. Demographic change consists of different trends: total population decline, diminishing number of young people, shrinking labour force, ageing society, changing ethnic composition of population owing to differential migration, changing household composition.

Facing the demographic challenge through means such as increasing employment rates, integrating legal migrants and shaping infrastructures and services in response to ageing are now widely stated, but have yet to be consistently put into practice.

Together, the partners of DC NOISE faced the challenge and seeked to develop new approaches in practice and to share the lessons they learned throughout the North Sea Region. The actions undertaken would impact employment opportunities in the region, the competitiveness of the region and social wellbeing, cohesion and quality of life for individual residents. Together, they supported the development of sustainable and competitive communities.

Transnational cooperation would be the start of mutual European adjustment in policy answers to demographic change. It helped to bring the subject on the agenda of national and regional authorities and gave financial support, thereby creating the necessary conditions for experiment, finding creative solutions and new strategies, and be ready for the future.

PROJECT DURATION: 2008-06-01 - 2011-12-31
ERDF GRANT: 2,549,456.00 €
ERDF EQUIVALENT: 408,198.00 €
LEAD BENEFICIARY: Region of Twente, The Netherlands