• active ageing;
  • older people;
  • European Union;
  • demographic ageing;
  • policy

Walker A, Maltby T. Active ageing: A strategic policy solution to demographic ageing in the European Union

The ageing of European countries has widespread implications for current and future social and economic policies across the region. The major policy response to demographic ageing that has emerged over the past 10 years is called ‘active ageing’, yet there is little clarity in practice about what it means for individuals and society beyond a crude economic reduction in terms of working longer. The main purposes of this article are to explain why this strategy has emerged and its importance. Despite a great deal of positive political rhetoric, the response at all levels of policy making has been rather limited. An active social and public policy is required to mainstream active ageing as the leading paradigm for ageing policy across the European Union (EU). The designation of 2012 as the European Year of Active Ageing offers a potential focus for renewed policy action in the EU and is discussed in the context of our conclusions.