‘WORKING BEYOND RETIREMENT’ WAS THE THEME OF A STAKEHOLDERS’ CONFERENCE ORGANISED TODAY BY THE MALTA-EU STEERING AND ACTION COMMITTEE (MEUSAC)

15 November 2012

A stakeholders’ conference was organised today by the Malta-EU Steering and Action Committee
(MEUSAC), entitled ‘Working beyond Retirement’. The Conference was one of a series of
activities for the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations 2012 within
a joint inter institutional arrangement between the Government of Malta, the European Commission
and the European Parliament.

The conference was aimed at raising awareness on the contribution of older people to society and to
the economy by working beyond the retirement age. A key note speech was delivered by Mr
Robert Anderson from the European Foundation for Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound)
whilst the other local key speakers elaborated further on the theme of the conference itself.
Throughout the conference, the participants also took part in four different focus groups aimed at
discussing themes in relation to the role of both the retired and the employed towards an ageing
society.

In his opening speech, MEUSAC Head, Dr Vanni Xuereb, said that the European Year 2012 is
aimed at encouraging and supporting the efforts of Member States, their regional and local
authorities, social partners, civil society and the business community, including small and mediumsized
enterprises, to promote active ageing and to increase the mobilisation with regards to the
potential of the rapidly growing population in their late 50s and over.

Dr Peter Agius, Head of the European Parliament Information Office in Malta, said that the
European Parliament is working on changing the mentality, which he stated cannot come to reality
unless it is based on responsibility and solidarity between generations.

Mr Martin Bugelli, Head of the European Commission Representation in Malta, said that the aim of
the European Year is not just to promote a particular policy but to put forward such a matter for
indepth discussion as was the case in today’s conference.

When delivering his key note speech ‘European perspectives on Active Ageing: trends and
developments in the workplace’, Mr Robert Anderson from the Eurofound explained that there is
huge potential when it comes to employment for ageing populations. He added that in all the
Member States, employment rates of older workers have increased between 2001 and 2011, except
for Romania and Portugal. Among the good practices that he mentioned were job recruitment, training and lifelong learning, career development, flexible working practices, health protection and
promotion, redeployment, employment exit and also transition to retirement.

Mr Anderson concluded by saying that a comprehensive policy for an ageing population is
necessary. Such a policy should cover the diversity of an older age population, acknowledges the
value of care, volunteering and work, and last but not least the challenges that Member States are
facing for both pensions and retirement practices in the context of the financial crisis.

In his address, Dr John Cachia, Commissioner for Mental Health and Older Persons, quoted
statistics that show the seriousness of the issue of demography; by 2060 there will be 38% of
Maltese population beyond 60 years of age, most of them living in their own home in the
community.

Despite the numerous services offered in the community, Dr Cachia listed a series of challenges that
include risks of falls, polypharmacy, undernourishment, chronic diseases, and age-unfriendly
environments. He stated that Malta’s vision about active ageing consists of inclusion and active
contribution in all areas of community life, flexible responses to the needs and preferences of the
elderly, and a friendlier physical and social environment.

The conference came to an end with a speech by Mr Mario Galea, Parliamentary Secretary for the
Elderly and Community Care. The conclusions drawn from the conference will be compiled into a
manifesto and disseminated to the relevant stakeholders in the coming weeks.