Against the youth mania

Federal President Horst Kohler has called for Germany to be better prepared for the consequences of an aging society. Far from enough is being done, Kohler said Thursday at the final conference of the Demographic Change Forum in Berlin. He criticized the "entrenched and unfortunately often short-sighted ways of thinking" in many areas of society and called for new ways of living to be developed.

The knowledge and experience of older people should no longer be dispensed with, Kohler continued: "No talent should be allowed to atrophy, no ability should lie idle."This also applies to women who are catapulted out of the labor force because "care responsibilities are still unequally distributed between the sexes" or because there is a lack of childcare facilities. Immigration must be seen as an opportunity and the education system must become more equitable, he said.At the same time, Kohler emphasized that a lot has already been done in these areas. Especially when it comes to the ie of better reconciliation of family and career, many see a "silver lining on the horizon," said the Federal President. He said that "a family policy has been set in motion that corresponds to the changed social conditions".A rethink has also begun on the subject of immigration, he added. Integration is now recognized as a cross-sectional task. In order to profit from the opportunities of diversity, however, there is a need for "an education system that compensates for unequal starting chances".Kohler added that demographic change is a global challenge. While Germany is shrinking, poorer countries are struggling with a population explosion. These countries are also suffering from the emigration of the very people who are able to perform and who are often urgently needed locally. It is therefore important to offer people in the South a perspective and an environment worth living in, while at the same time curbing the consumption of resources in the North. "Otherwise, we will be faced with ecological consequences and global migration movements that go far beyond what we are currently experiencing."The Demographic Change Forum is an initiative of the German President Kohler in cooperation with the Bertelsmann Foundation. The aim is to create awareness of the problem and to make concrete proposals for action.

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Christina Cherry
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