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The Demographic Tipping Point for Europe is here

The European Commission has released the latest press release on demographic developments in the European Union during 2003. This shows that the long-awaited time when deaths outweigh births and immigration maintains the population of the European Union is beginning to arrive.

The population of 380.8 million increased by 1,276,000 during 2003, of which three-quarters was due to natural migration. However, there are two worrying trends that suggest Europe’s demographic problems can only worsen in the coming years.

Germany, Italy and Greece would all have faced population declines without immigration. More countries will join this select group in the first decade of the twenty-first century.

Secondly, half of the accession countries that are scheduled to join the European Union on the 1st May 2004 are already facing the problem of population decline, a problem that will be exacerbated by migration towards Western Europe.

There always has to be a disclaimer using the figures from Eurostat since demographics are one of the most unreliable of all collected statistics. Neverthless, taking this disclaimer into account, the population decline is beginning to take hold at a rapid pace.

It is the accession countries who probably have most to fear. Enlargement can be viewed as a cannibalisation of the labour markets of the accession countries by existing Member States and the newcomers face huge problems of tightening and declining labour markets in the long run. If they join the Eurozone, they will lose the remainder of the economic flexibility needed to combat this problem, since their adoption of EU laws, known as the acquis communautaire, will lead to far greater regulation from May 1st.

The European solution to the problems that they have created will be further subventions to cushion the blow of joining the European Union and satisfaction at removing a possible ring of economic competitors along their eastern border. Hopefully, Russia and the Ukraine will begin to attract more investment in the next few years and prove too large to swallow.

6 comments to The Demographic Tipping Point for Europe is here

  • S. Weasel

    The only reason populations have to grow to be healthy is to support the Ponzi scheme that is Social Security. Absent that, it’s entirely possible to have a prosperous economy with flat population growth.

    While I have faith that our technology will allow us to feed many more people than we’ve got on the planet now, the number is ultimately finite. And Giant Vertical Cement Box Land doesn’t sound like a place I’d want to live, thanks anyhoo.

  • Jacob

    “The only reason populations have to grow to be healthy is to support the Ponzi scheme that is Social Security. ”
    This Ponzi scheme, like all Ponzi schemes cannot be supported infinitely, no matter what.
    Speculations about population trends and racial composition might be interesting and amusing, but the fact is: there is nothing that can be done to change these things, so … (yawn).

  • Andy

    I, for one, offer my services to Italy (specifically Monica Bellucci) in, err…assisting population growth.

    (sorry can’t resist the flippant comment)

  • Pedro

    I can’t work out why people are so scared of population decline. Certainly it’s a big issue for the welfare state, which is ironic seeing that the vast majority of greens both want to reduce population and favour socialism. However, the welfare state can survive declining populations just by increasing later life participation in the work place.

    Libertarian should be glad because the welfare state will only end as a result of collapse, something that is postponed by population growth.

  • Reid of America

    The population statistics are worse than they appear. Recent immigrants from the third world especially Muslims have a much higher birth rate than the ancestral European natives. Plus there is a brain drain from the most intelligent and best educated, especially in technology fields, to the US.

    It is a BIG problem. Add it to the long list of problems facing Europe. Europe is a civilization in decline and nothing illustrates it better than the population statistics.

  • James

    Social security, if a Ponzi scheme, is no different except in its formalisation from the way the elderly have been cared for for millions of years.

    Having privatised insurance schemes makes no difference to the demographics, and those who say it does show an alarming lack of knowledge.