ICT for ageing well.



A- A A+

Breakfast debate “From Active and Healthy Ageing to the Digital Transformation of Health and Care”

Hosted by MEPs Neena Gill CBE and Lambert Van NistelrooijBuilding Blocks for addressing demographic change in Horizon Europe


June 26, 8:00 – 9:30, Members’ Salons, European Parliament, Brussels



This breakfast debate organised by MEP Lambert Van Nistelrooij, MEP Neena Gill CBE and the Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) Association, looked at how solutions to Europe’s demographic change can be addressed within the European Union’s Digital transformation of the Health and Care strategy and the upcoming Framework Programme 9 – ‘Horizon Europe’.


Based on learnings from the AAL Programme since 2007 the event looked into emerging building blocks for keeping active and healthy ageing in Europe a priority within the next framework programme. Six MEPs including the two hosting MEPs as well as MEP Mr. Dan Nica, MEP Mr. Jo Leinen, MEP Mr. Heinz Becker and MEP Mr. Franc Bogovič intervened in the meeting.








The event was kicked off by co-host MEP Ms. Neena Gill CBE, who had acted as rapporteur for the adopted AAL programme in 2008.  ‘Over the last ten years – she said – the Programme was able to fund over 200 projects while developing one of its main assets – the end users’ involvement in the design of products and services.’ ‘AAL has managed to build a critical mass in research and Innovation that is very relevant to European citizens. She concluded that more is needed to raise awareness of with European citizens about such programmes. The AAL Programme needs to play its role in the years to come.’



Mr. Peter Saraga, the recently appointed President of the AAL Association, then presented the evolution of the AAL Programme within the European Active and Healthy Ageing landscape over the years. He provided a number of ideas for a future European partnership programme in this domain.

We are all well aware that Europe is facing accelerating economic, social and healthcare challenges from demographic change – said Mr. Saraga – ‘the AAL programme together with the complementary activities in Horizon 2020, the EIP AHA and the EIT-KIC Health, constitutes one of the world’s largest research and innovation initiatives addressing Active & Healthy Ageing.’


As was recognized in the Blueprint for the digital transformation of health & care, stronger collaboration between stakeholders, and a step-up in innovation, even disruptive innovation, is required, – continued Saraga. We believe that we can make a real contribution to this process by capitalizing on the networks and collaborative support actions developed by AAL and other European programmes in the past – by taking them to the next level. It’s time – he concluded – to interconnect regional and national innovation networks in Europe and transform them into viable, practice-oriented eco-systems.






Mr. Robert Schröder, member of the cabinet of Commissioner Carlos Moedas, then recalled the ongoing process of negotiations for the adoption of the next Framework Programme. ‘The topics that AAL is working on – he said –  are close to the views of the Commissioner with specific regard to the need to merge the digital word with the physical one.’ Mr. Schröder mentioned the possibilities of blending funds for European partnerships within Horizon Europe and in particular the possibility for national or regional agencies to top up the EC contribution with funds coming from ESIF (European Structural and Investment Funds).





After these two introductory remarks, MEP Mr. Lambert Van Nistelrooij and Mr. Klaus Niederländer, Director of the AAL Association, facilitated the debates with the present MEPs and stakeholders, such as representatives of European regions, Age Platform and from the business community. The discussiion was very lively and involved MEP Mr. Jo Leinen who asked about the future priorities and focus of such a European Partnership Programme; MEP Mr. Franc Bogovič who mentioned a project recently launched about smart villages in his home country Slovenia; and former AAL rapporteur MEP Mr. Dan Nica.


Mr. Lambert van Nistelrooij concluded the debate by suggesting a rapid positioning of the AAL programme with regard to the upcoming FP9. He advocated for a model where the current member countries can still support the Joint Programme model with the European Commission.

This breakfast debate is the beginning of contributions by the AAL Association towards shaping future active and healthy ageing activities within the Horizon Europe Programme.