The European Commission has just proposed that 2012 be designated as the "European Year for Active Ageing".

The initiative aims to help create better job opportunities and working conditions for the growing numbers of older people in Europe, help them take an active role in society and encourage healthy ageing. It comes as Europe's policymakers grapple with a steadily ageing population and its impacts on public services and finances. The European Parliament and Council are expected to endorse the initiative by the beginning of next year.

The proposed European Year for Active Ageing is designed to serve as a framework for raising awareness, for identifying and disseminating good practice and, most importantly, for encouraging policymakers and stakeholders at all levels to promote active ageing. The aim is to invite these players to commit to specific action and goals in the run-up year 2011 so that tangible achievements can be presented during the European Year itself in 2012. [extract]