Luis Munoz, Head of the European affairs office of the Provincial Government of Teruel, was interviewed in the regional radio La Comarca on April 8, 2019.
Through this interview, Luis Munoz had the opportunity to explain to listeners the objectives of the SILVER SMEs project, aiming at improving the implementation of regional policies for SMEs competitiveness by building on significant opportunities arising from the Silver Economy. “This project comes from the observation of a problem, which is also an opportunity thanks to European funds, namely the increasing ageing process of the European population” he explained before adding “there is a market to be developed in the silver economy, to serve and help as much as possible elderly persons”.
The Provincial Government of Teruel has a European affairs and projects office since 2012 and is involved in various EU programmes and projects. As population ageing is currently a raising topic across Europe and Teruel offers a good quality of life, it seemed relevant to work on rural areas attractiveness for elderly persons by developing adapted services. When being asked about these services, Luis Munoz claims there are various and not limited to commercial or medical services; offering gardening possibilities for instance to enable elderly persons to stay active and close to nature.
The Interreg Europe project SILVER SMEs is all about exploring these services needed by elderly populations in rural areas. Back in January 2019, project partners met in Lille to attend the AgeingFit event, “more than 2000 silver economy SMEs exist in France for example, so we look at existing offers in Europe and we analyse if they are replicable in our territory for Teruel to be a reference in term of silver economy”, Luis Munoz explained.
And the project is already spreading! According to Luis Munoz, the company managing the bathing resort of Ariño, near Teruel, would be interested to develop further health services targeting elderly persons.
As recalled by Luis Munoz, the governance of the project relies on its partners, who will meet during five years to exchange experiences and plan actions. However, other entities may be involved in the project, as supporters or associated bodies, such as LEADER local action groups, Aragon’s regional government, universities and institutes able to provide useful data or technology and any other actors working on employment and the silver economy who would be able to bring value to the project.
The SILVER SMEs project indeed aims at tackling various challenges at the same time. Developing opportunities in the silver economy answers the need for more services dedicated to elderly persons, helping to recreate social connexions and fighting exclusion. Moreover, it is an appropriate way to create jobs, indirectly improving the attractiveness of rural areas and fighting rural depopulation.
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