17 Jan 2023
EC presents Communication on Harnessing Talent in Europe's Regions
The European Commission (EC) has presented a Communication on Harnessing Talent in Europe's Regions, as the first key initiative in 2023 contributing to the European Year of Skills. The Communication was published on 17 January 2023 and offers tailor-made, place based and multi-dimensional solutions for reskilling and upskilling, including the use of existing EU funds and initiatives to support regions most affected by the ongoing demographic transition and its side-effects and prevent the emergence of new and increased territorial disparities in the EU.
The EC stresses that if left unaddressed, this demographic transition will trigger new and growing territorial disparities as regions age and fall behind in number and skills of their workforce, hampering the resilience and competitiveness of the EU. The Communication therefore presents a 'Talent Booster Mechanism' to support EU regions affected by the accelerated decline of their working age population to train, retain and attract the people, the skills and the competences needed to address the impact of the demographic transition.
On the same day, the EC also published its 2023 Report on the Impact of Demographic Change, which updates the Demography Report of 2020. The Report stresses that, to ensure future prosperity and well-being in the EU, it is crucial to address the challenges brought about by the demographic transition. These challenges include an ageing as well as declining population, and a shrinking working-age population (with a decrease by 3.5 million people between 2015 and 2020, and a further decrease by an additional 35 million people expected by 2050). 82 regions in 16 Member States (accounting for almost 30% of the EU population) are severely affected by this decline of the working age population, a low share of university and higher-education graduates, or a negative mobility of their population aged 15-39.
The Talent Booster Mechanism presented in the Communication is based on 8 pillars:
- A new pilot project will be launched in 2023 to help regions facing a ‘talent development trap' elaborate, consolidate, develop and implement tailored and comprehensive strategies, as well as to identify relevant projects, to train, attract and retain skilled workers. Support will be provided to pilot regions selected on the basis of an open call.
- A new initiative on ‘Smart adaptation of regions to demographic transition' will kick off in 2023 to help regions with higher rates of departure of their young people to adapt to the demographic transition and invest in talent development through tailored place-based policies. Benefiting regions will be selected on the basis of an open call.
- The Technical Support Instrument (TSI) will support Member States, upon demand under the TSI 2023 call, with reforms at national and regional level, necessary to address the shrinking of the working-age population, the lack of skills and respond to local market needs.
- Cohesion Policy programmes and the Interregional Innovation Investments will stimulate innovation and opportunities for high-skill jobs and thus contribute to improving possibilities to retain and attract talents in these regions.
- A new call for innovative actions will be launched under the European Urban Initiative to test place-based solutions led by shrinking cities that address the challenges of developing, retaining and attracting skilled workers.
- EU initiatives that support the development of talents will be signposted on a dedicated webpage. This will provide easier access to information to interested regions about EU policies in areas such as research and innovation, training, education, and youth mobility.
- Experiences will be exchanged and good practices will be disseminated: regions will have the possibility to set up thematic and regional working groups to address specific professional or territorial challenges.
- The analytical knowledge required to support and facilitate evidence-based policies on regional development and migration will be further developed.
The Communication also highlights how existing EU instruments and policies can support economic revitalisation and the development of the right skills to attract high-potential activities in the affected regions, including through the steer of the European Semester. Among others, the new European Innovation Agenda that sets out the Deep Tech Talent Initiative, a specific flagship to respond to the talent gap in deep tech sectors, integrating all regions in Europe.
The Communication also stresses how Cohesion Policy is and will continue to help these regions to diversify their economy, upgrade the accessibility to services, boost the efficiency of public administration and ensure the involvement of the regional and local authorities through dedicated place-based strategies.
Finally, it offers many examples of national and regional initiatives and best practices that effectively address the structural challenges in a local context, enhancing the regions' attractiveness for talents. The Commission will regularly report on the implementation of this Communication.
For more information:
Communication on Harnessing Talent in Europe's Regions
Report on the impact of demographic change – in a changing environment
Questions and Answers on Harnessing Talent in Europe's Regions and the Demography Report