Ageing is one of the greatest social and economic challenges of the 21st century for European societies. It will affect all EU countries and most policy areas. By 2025 more than 20% of Europeans will be 65 or over, with a particularly rapid increase in the number of persons over 80. The ageing of Europe, also known as the greying of Europe, has become a demographic phenomenon on our continent characterized by a decrease in fertility, a decrease in mortality rate, and a higher life expectancy among European populations. The fact that people are living longer is a testament to advances in health care and nutrition, and advocates emphasize that the elderly should be seen not as a burden but as a resource. Active and healthy ageing is a challenge shared by all European countries and it offers Europe an opportunity to establish itself as a global leader capable of providing innovative responses to this challenge. By addressing this market, European Standardization could take important steps to address those businesses looking into older people’s needs. Creating customized services and technologies for the use of the ageing society will soon be necessary. This is an opportunity not to be missed by the European industry. This new economic and industrial sector will greatly promote growth and jobs in the coming years. Standardization in support of the ‘silver economy’ will foster the development of new technologies to accommodate the ageing community, strengthen the international collaboration and identify key business opportunities in fields covering the needs of elderly person. The theme ‘How standardization can support the silver economy’ covers various items, which are high on the political agenda and some of which will be discussed in parallel sessions.