The European Commission recently published the 2021 Ageing Report, sub-titled “Economic & Budgetary Projections for the EU Member States (2019-2070)”. 
Based on new population projections provided by Eurostat, this report presents the long-term economic and budgetary impact of ageing populations, highlighting the immediate and future policy challenges for EU countries. The Ageing Report projections feed into a range of policy debates and processes at EU level and support the analysis of the macroeconomic impact of population ageing on the labour market, economic growth, projected expenditure on pensions, healthcare, long-term care, education, etc. 
The demographic projections over the long-term reveal that the EU will ‘turn increasingly grey’ in the coming decades. The overall EU population is set to shrink by 5% between 2019 (447 million) and 2070 (424 million). This population will not only decline, but also experience a significant change in its age structure, with a median age rising by 5 years for both men and women by 2070 (reaching 47.3 for men and 50.3 for women). It is estimated that by 2060, one third of EU the population will be over 65. 
These demographic trends result in high levels of physical inactivity across Europe. The total cost of ageing (including pension, health care, long-term care and education expenditure), which stood at 24% of GDP in 2019, is projected to rise by 1.9 percentage points by 2070.  
As EuropeActive outlined in a previous information paper, the European Fitness and physical activity sector has great potential to successfully increase levels of physical activity among the ageing European society. Alongside its health and social benefits, physical activity also has a significantly positive impact on reducing the health cost expenditure of Member States.  
Increasing physical activity levels of the elderly population is the ambition of EuropeActive’s Active Ageing Communities project, which aims to involve 500 currently inactive 65+ adults across 6 EU countries in a tailored programme stimulating long-lasting regular physical activity and healthy lifestyles. 
Jul 1, 2021 By Pauline Joskin