International Migration and Europe’s Demographic Challenge
Title: International Migration and Europe’s Demographic Challenge
Author: FARGUES, Philippe
Series/Report no.: EU-US Immigration Systems; 2011/09
Demography challenges Europe in three ways: 1) Europe’s size: while the population of Europe will decrease or stabilise, depending upon migration scenarios, most other regions will continue to increase so that the relative weight of Europe in world population terms will dwindle, thereby endangering Europe’s weight in world affairs and the institutions of global governance; 2) Europe’s wealth: the European workforce is about to enter a period of fast decline that might hamper Europe’s ambitious economic goals; 3) Europe’s social contract: the unprecedented rise of an elderly population combined with shrinking numbers of working-age natives alters the generational contract and will put Europe’s welfare systems at risk. In order to curb negative population trends, Europe can have recourse to various strategies, each of them having though only a partial potential impact on the above challenges: 1) Geographic enlargement: including new countries in the European Union (EU) brings at once additional populations to the Union; 2) Pro-natalist policies: if successful, they would foster a higher birth rate which translates 20 years later into a corresponding increase in the working-age population; 3) Immigration policies: calling in immigrants would affect both the size and the structure of the population; 4) Retirement policies: changing the age limit between economic activity and retirement is a way to address problems brought about by demographic numbers without changing the numbers themselves; 5) Other policies, notably those on education and labour, can also contribute to addressing, albeit indirectly, some of the problems generated by a decreasing workforce.
Improving EU and US Immigration Systems' Capacity for Responding to Global Challenges: Learning from experiences
Type of Access: openAccess