On 23 November 2023, the European Commission launched its new initiative, the Harnessing Talent Platform that is a key part of the Commission’s work on addressing demographic change in the regions. The initiative is a newly formed knowledge-building and experience-exchange platform, which seeks to support regions in addressing the consequences of the demographic change and in mitigating the challenges associated with the decline of tertiary educated populations across the EU.

The platform ensures that impacted regions receive the guidance, information and knowledge they need to elaborate, consolidate, develop and implement tailored and comprehensive strategies to train, attract and retain talents.

Via the platform, the European Commission shares relevant information and promotes events, best practices as well as access to technical assistance and advice to regions in need, including a dedicated helpdesk. Specific tools for these purposes are already available, such as the Talent Booster Mechanism that is based on eight pillars and aims to provide tailor-made solutions for various regions, utilizing existing EU funds and initiatives.

As part of Pillar 7 of the mechanism, four Working Groups on the topics of Digital, Health, Research & Innovation and Territorial development – in particular urban-rural linkages and quality of life – have been established. The main goal of the groups is to provide assistance to the regions in dealing with specific professional or territorial challenges, which influence a region’s ability to be competitive and attractive for young and highly skilled workforce.

The working groups also bring together relevant stakeholders at EU, national and regional level and enhance dialogue, exchange of experiences and knowledge building between them. Additionally, they aim to identify opportunities and approaches to help mitigate challenges associated with population decline of tertiary educated population and how to harness talent in Europe’s regions.

Each working group consists of a secretariat, external experts and a core team of up to 20 members including, among others, representatives of pan-European organisations and civil society organisations. The work of the groups will allow to have a deeper insight into how regions dealing with demographic challenges; how they can attract, develop and retain talent, by exploring potential solutions and devise instruments linked to the discussed topic.

The Harnessing Talent Platform of the European Commission can be considered as a catalyst for collaboration, enabling the exchange of ideas, knowledge and resources among stakeholders.