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Press release

Berlin, April 11, 2018

Experts call for more courage in dealing with demographic change

  • 200 experts meet at the 7th Berlin Demography Forum 

Some 200 national and international experts from science, politics, business, and civil society met yesterday and earlier today in Berlin at the 7th Berlin Demography Forum (BDF) to discuss the challenges of increasing migration within Germany and throughout Europe.

Franz Müntefering, former minister of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, and Prof. Bert Rürup, president of the Handelsblatt Research Institute, discussed current challenges in the face of demographic change.

"Europe needs a project that creates identity, a project that people can put their heart into," said Franz Müntefering, who is also chairman of the BDF Advisory Board. "This could be, for example, a common European labor market that takes people beyond the borders of nation-states. I recommend more courage," said Müntefering.

"The experience of the past will not solve the problems of the future," said Prof. Rürup. "Digitization will change the nature of work. Both the localization of work and salaried employment will decline. However, this does not necessarily lead to decreasing employment."

In his welcome speech, Diakonie President Ulrich Lilie said that the growing number of migratory movements had far-reaching consequences worldwide. For example, Germany's population is not aging as quickly as had been previously predicted. "Only through strong, reliable cooperation will we be able to successfully master these challenges and secure demographically relevant aspects of services of general interest and the creation of equally appropriate living conditions," stressed Lilie.

Prof. Jörg Rocholl, president of ESMT Berlin, pointed out that trends such as digitization, nano- and biotechnology, and demographic change require a readjustment of education policy. "Occupational patterns and tasks are changing at an increasing rate, so lifelong learning is not a luxury but a necessity," said Rocholl. "Lifelong education must promote creative and social skills, digital understanding, and abstract thinking."

Press contact
Ulrike Schwarzberg, +49 (0) 30 21231-1066,
Martha Ihlbrock, +49 (0) 30 21231-1043,

About the Berlin Demography Forum

The BDF offers a nonpartisan platform of discussion and mutual exchange, with the aim of identifying solutions to the challenges of demographic change. The Forum brings together international stakeholders from politics, business, science, and civil society to discuss solutions and contribute to sustainable development. It is also intended to anchor the importance of demographic factors in the wider public discourse. Since its launch in January 2012, the Forum takes place once a year. Founders were the Allianz and the Federal Ministry for Families, Senior Citizens, Women, and Youth. The organizers of the conference series are Diakonie Deutschland, Allianz Deutschland AG, and ESMT Berlin. The BDF will be supported in 2018 by the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG), the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women, and Youth (BMFSFJ), and the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI). In addition, the Bertelsmann Stiftung, the Deutsche Städte- und Gemeindebund, Population Europe, the Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Demographie (DGD), World Health Summit, F/L Think Tank, and the Ecclesia-Versicherungsdienst are among the partners of the BDF.

About ESMT Berlin

ESMT Berlin was founded by 25 leading global companies and institutions. The international business school offers a full-time MBA, an executive MBA, a master’s in management, as well as open enrollment and customized executive education programs. ESMT focuses on three main topics: leadership, innovation, and analytics. ESMT faculty publishes in top academic journals. Additionally, the business school provides an interdisciplinary platform for discourse between politics, business, and academia. The business school is based in Berlin, Germany, with Schloss Gracht as an additional location near Cologne. ESMT is a private business school with the right to grant PhDs and is accredited by the German state, AACSB, AMBA, EQUIS, and FIBAA.