NEWS

Immigrants prop up the EU’s population as local birth rates decrease alarmingly

Migrants are a demographic shot in the arm for Western Europe, whose rapidly aging population has set alarm bells ringing. But as Fotakis pointed out, the social incorporation of migrants, who will help iron out Europe’s demographic wrinkles, is a matter of necessity. In the European Union in 2002, 38 percent of the population (aged 55 to 64) were approaching retirement age. In the European Union as a whole, and in most member states, the working population (aged 15 to 64) will have stopped increasing by the year 2010. According to the directorate’s report, this trend applies to all member states, despite the fact that the seriousness and the precise time when this trend will make itself apparent vary on both a national and regional level. In Greece, Germany and Italy, the shrinkage of the working population has already begun. Migrants – 13 million of whom live in the 15 member states – supply the demographic crutch to Europe, but the fundamental question is whether immigration can make up for the aging of Europe’s population. Future prospects The prospects for the future of the demographics of the European Union member states are bleak. The population is projected to rise only in 2050, with the advents of an increase in the fertility rate from today’s 1.4 children per woman to 1.8, coupled with an immigration rate of 1.2 million people per year.