Reporting website
of the European Week of Regions and Cities
| 2017
An alternative for the future: A Silver Economy for cities and regions
People aged 50+ already represent 37% of the population in Europe. The number of people aged 60+ will increase by about two million persons each year in the coming decades and the number of very old persons, who are most likely to need care or support, will also increase. It is our responsibility to find sustainable solutions, stressed Markku Markkula, who was officially announced as the moral patron of the European Silver Economy Awards. He also pointed out the importance of both digitalisation and demographic change and called for a bottom-up strategy for the European Silver Economy that could only be achieved by creating synergies among European stakeholders, and by taking into account the economic, ecological, social and cultural dimensions of sustainability. One early conclusion is that although rapid demographic ageing is a major societal challenge, it also offers great opportunities for economic growth and jobs in Europe and elsewhere. According to the European Commission, the Silver Economy is the sum of the economic opportunities arising from public and consumer expenditure related to ageing and the specific needs of the population over 50. It covers various domains such as tourism, care, housing, mobility and financial services, and requires the mobilization of all stakeholders, in particular cities and regions. The action of these stakeholders is crucial and some have already developed comprehensive strategies to address demographic ageing while supporting and developing local businesses, demonstrating that the Silver Economy as a broad political and economic paradigm promises to benefit both older persons themselves and public welfare systems and the private economy more generally. This is why the European Commission has set up the SEED project (H2020) which is currently establishing the first European-level award scheme rewarding ICT-based innovative solutions that support the growth of the European Silver Economy. The workshop also benefitted from a talk by the European Commission's Programme Officer, Horst Krämer, who addressed the transformation of healthcare in the Digital Single Market. He raised a concern about the fact that the rapidly ageing European population was a common political challenge that needed to be addressed jointly by all sectors. The workshop also addressed wide-ranging issues such as sustainability, innovative financing models, user involvement, new business models, and emerging sectors through six inspiring examples from different cities and regions: Friuli Venezia Giulia (Italy), Free State of Saxony (Germany), Gelderland Province (Netherlands), Varaždin County (Croatia) and North Denmark Region (Denmark). The presentations were followed by an intense Q&A debate between the panellists and the audience. Moreover, the workshop also included a networking session which enabled the participants to continue discussing burning issues linked to the Silver Economy and to establish contacts for potential partnerships and future synergies.
Take away message
The workshop attracted around 250 representatives from local and regional authorities, business and service providers, academia, and civil society to discuss the social and economic benefits of the European Silver Economy. In light of a rapidly aging population, the workshop aimed to mobilise all European stakeholders, in particular cities and regions, as agents of change with a view to addressing issues such as sustainability, user involvement, active and healthy ageing and innovative business modelling.
  • Regions & cities as change agents

    Regions & cities as change agents




October 10




  • Markku Markkula, First Vice-President, European Committee of the Regions (CoR)
  • Anne-Sophie Parent, Secretary-General, AGE Platform Europe
  • Horst Krämer, Programme Officer, EU Policies, European Commission / DG CNECT
  • Sonja Müller, Senior Researcher, empirica