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Volume 478: debated on Thursday 26 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will publish the results of projects on which his Department has jointly worked with France and Germany at EU level on managing ageing populations and tackling the causes of poverty. (211212)

My Department collaborated in a seminar on active ageing held by France in November 2007, which brought together UK, French and German policy experts on extending working lives. On June 23 Germany hosted a follow-on event mainly involving employers and other stakeholders from the three countries. This work is part of the continuous process of Governments across the European Union learning from each other and sharing good practice. There was no published report.

My Department exchanges good practice on welfare reform with all EU member states. This aims, for example, to increase participation in employment under the Lisbon Jobs and Growth Strategy and contribute to the eradication of poverty under the EU Social Protection and Social Inclusion process. The Lisbon Strategy includes a target for an EU employment level by 2010 of 50 per cent. of older people of working age. The spring European Council in March noted that an employment rate of 43.5 per cent. had been achieved by the end of 2006, 6.5 percentage points from the target.