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Readying society for the future

“Policy discussions on demography up to now have addressed mainly the ageing of society. We must now increasingly move the focus to the younger generation, because it is especially about their future,” demanded Manuela Schwesig, German Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women, and Youth, in her speech today at the third Berlin Demography Forum, taking place from April 9 to 11 at ESMT European School of Management and Technology. Together with Michael Diekmann, CEO of Allianz, Manuela Schwesig opened the cross-party, international platform for debate, which the ministry and the insurance company launched in 2012 to discuss important issues around demographic change.

 

In his speech Diekmann spoke of the need for more intelligent solutions to strengthen confidence in pension provision, such as the linking of the financing needs of infrastructure with investment options for retirement plans. “If we succeed in setting the correct course now, we will prepare our societies for the future: fostering innovation and economic growth, relieving the public finances, and ensuring the standard of living of our older citizens with attractive pension plans.”

 

Social solidarity for the long term – but how?

 

Under the motto “Security – Trust – Solidarity” at the Berlin Demography Forum this year more than 40 experts from government, academia, business, and civil society will examine the question of what kind of security people need in times of demographic change. They will discuss the ethical implications that must be considered today to ensure the long-term social solidarity that is being put to the test by an ageing population, and changing attitudes towards life.

 

For the first time representatives from the Protestant Church, the Vatican and from Business Ethics will discuss this ethical component. Representatives from the Central Council of Muslims and the Central Council of Jews in Germany will attend as well.

 

The “Young Experts Panel” supported by the Vodafone Foundation Germany will for the first time take the views of the younger generation into account. Dan He, Deputy Director-General of the Chinese National Health and Family Planning Commission will give a Government statement on International Demography policies and Dr. Günter Krings, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Ministry of the Interior speak about the German focus. The Berlin Panel, which includes Dr. Gregor Gysi, Chairperson of the parliamentary group Die Linke, Katrin Göring-Eckardt, Chairperson of the parliamentary group Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen, and Gisela Hasselfeldt, Chairperson of the CSU members of parliament in the CDU / CSU parliamentary group, will focus on German questions and answers. In addition this year, current research and poll results will be incorporated more strongly in the discussion.

“Policy discussions on demography up to now have addressed mainly the ageing of society. We must now increasingly move the focus to the younger generation, because it is especially about their future,” demanded Manuela Schwesig, German Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women, and Youth.
“Policy discussions on demography up to now have addressed mainly the ageing of society. We must now increasingly move the focus to the younger generation, because it is especially about their future,” demanded Manuela Schwesig, German Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women, and Youth.

Ageing today: Live longer, stay healthier and more active

 

In a survey with participants from seven different countries, Allianz has compared how people imagine their retirement, e.g., if they feel safe and confident about the future. The results show that their future financial situation is of great concern. According to the study’s authors, both a younger (30–45 years old) and an older (60–75) group of respondents have little confidence in the state pension system, which is not surprising in view of the reforms initiated to lower the level of pensions in many countries. It is alarming, however, that the respondents are very skeptical as to whether they can close the financial gap. Support from the family is seen as one alternative in some countries.

 

At the same time, the survey points out that due to increasing life expectancy, the timing of mid-life is being felt earlier. This can best be described by the saying “60 is the new 50”. The attitude towards life of a 60-year-old now is the same as that of a 50-year-old from their grandparents’ generation. This is because people today remain healthy longer and can live a more active life; another factor that influences the individual's sense of security.

 

Young people in Germany grapple with the challenges of demographic changes

 

How do young people in Germany experience demographic change? The Federal Ministry of Family Affairs wanted to know and, therefore, performed a representative survey of young people between the ages of 20 and 34. The answer is: Young adults are well-informed, they grapple with the issue, and they are ready to deal with the consequences of demographic change. Young people in Germany usually have a very close bond with the family, and the desire for children is increasing. Retirement is an important issue for many, and a majority of young people are willing to care for relatives. The results of the survey show that young men and women place great importance on their jobs, and confirm that they want a division of labor with their partner when taking responsibility for child rearing, the household, and the care of relatives. However, the survey also makes clear that young people are far more likely to recognize the burdens of demographic changes, such as longer working hours and increasing social security contributions, than the better opportunities that the labor market can provide for them. The detailed results of the survey can be found on the website www.bmfsfj.de.

 

Information stands and an exhibition by Population Europe, a network of leading European demographic research centers complement the platform for debate, as does an age suit that virtually simulates, for example, stiff joints, unclear vision, and impaired hearing. The Vodafone Foundation Germany is this year's partner of the Berlin Demography Forum.

Michael Diekmann, CEO of Allianz: “If we succeed in setting the correct course now, we will prepare our societies for the future: fostering innovation and economic growth, relieving the public finances, and ensuring the standard of living of our older citizens with attractive pension plans.”
Michael Diekmann, CEO of Allianz: “If we succeed in setting the correct course now, we will prepare our societies for the future: fostering innovation and economic growth, relieving the public finances, and ensuring the standard of living of our older citizens with attractive pension plans.”

As with all content published on this site, these statements are subject to our Forward Looking Statement disclaimer:

 

Petra Brandes
Allianz SE
Phone +49.89.3800-18797
Send email

Verena Herb
Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend
Phone 030 18 555-1060
Send email

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