The 7Ds – Demography in Depth

The European welfare state is being challenged by new realities. People’s outlooks on life have changed dramatically over the past decades, including their views on religion, the family and work. The consequences of these societal changes include rising life expectancies and stagnating fertility rates that are insufficient for the natural increase of the population. Humanity’s efforts to curtail overpopulation and increase longevity have caused the ageing of our societies, a trend that has been under way for decades.

In 2023, the Martens Centre published its 7Ds for Sustainability strategy document. This text comprised 175 proposals for the next legislature to future-proof EU policy in the areas of debt, decarbonisation, defence, democracy, demography, de-risking globalisation, and digitalisation. Sustainability was chosen as the guiding principle to ensure that the policies reconcile the needs of both the present and the future, and systematically include the interests of the next generations.

The 7Ds document has already inspired reflection on what to do over the next five years. These discussions are based on Christian Democrat and conservative thinking and the available in-house expertise of the Martens Centre. For the next phase of intense discussions about the programme to be implemented during the 2024–9 legislature, the Martens Centre has invited renowned external experts to put forward their own, more extensive proposals based on the original document, thereby deepening the available expertise. It is hoped that these proposals, published at the beginning of April 2024, will help to clarify the way forward at a critical juncture, when the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Council are negotiating on and finalising their strategic priorities.

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