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Opening remarks by President von der Leyen at the international conference ‘Demography Dynamics: Navigating Europe’s Future’, via video message

Dear ladies and gentlemen,
dear Andrej,
dear Dubravka,

thank you for the invitation to participate in this event. I am sorry that other obligations prevented me from being with you in Zagreb today. It is a great pleasure to address you during this important conference on demographic change in Europe. And where better to talk about change than in the newest EU member: Croatia.

Among the many challenges we are faced with today in Europe, demographic change is one that requires particular attention. Demography, they say, is always important but never urgent. However we must use our most precious capital, the people, to build our future competitiveness. As we start working on demographic change, we embark, together, on the journey towards a more resilient and thriving European future.

Through this conference we are recognising that demographic change is not a distant concept but a reality shaping our societies and our peoples’ everyday lives. These shifts and realities, be they aging populations or changing family dynamics, require strategic responses. Through the toolbox which you are looking at deeply today, we are focusing on empowering younger generations to thrive in a dynamic world.

We also look at balancing family aspirations and paid work and delve into labor shortages and legal migration, exploring solutions to strike the right balance. In your conference today local leaders will paint a canvas of demographic outlooks, shedding light on the actions and projects they are running and sharing their different experiences.

As we look forward, I invite you to reflect on how to best use this toolbox not just in Croatia but across the entire European landscape. I hope this event is not just a dialogue; but a catalyst for tangible, positive change. Let’s open this toolbox, explore its contents, and use the available resources together.

Thank you for your commitment, your expertise, and your partnership in building a Europe that thrives.And I wish you a very good conference.

Source European Commission - Dec 11, 23

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