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Discussion Paper

Discussion Paper No. 2: Demographic Change on the Political Agenda of the European Commission (2015)

This paper offers insights into how demographic change is discussed as a political challenge at the European Union (EU) level, specifically the European Commission. Chapter 1 provides basic conceptual specifications and definitions on how population policies and demographic change are understood in this paper. Chapter 2 describes the institutional set-up and framework of population policies at the EU level. Chapter 3 gives a short overview of how demographic issues are institutionally framed as areas of political action within the European Commission. Chapter 4 sheds light on the role of demographic change in the current political strategies and guidelines of the Euro­pean Commission. Chapter 5 represents the main part of the paper and delineates how demographic change has developed as a political issue on the agenda of the European Commission over time. Here the focus is not on implemented population policy measures, but on how demographic issues are discussed: Which topics are high on the political agenda? Which aspects are raised? Which approaches are proposed to deal with the problems identified? How did the debate develop over time? Finally we will provide some conclusions in chapter 6.