News of the Day ... In Perspective8/16/2005
European population in decline; welfare state threatened
Over the next 5 to 45 years, big changes have to be made if Europe wants to keep its cradle-to-grave welfare state policies, said Vladimir Spidla, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, and Equal Opportunities.
“Demographic decline is never a good thing,” he stated in a July 18 speech to the International Population Conference in Tours. “Population decline is a reality in Europe, already affecting more than a fifth of our regions.”
Even assuming that large-scale immigration continues, the EU could have lost almost 7 million inhabitants, and 55 million persons of working age, by the year 2050. Even by 2030, the working age population will have fallen by 21 million, while the over-65 population will have risen by more than 39 million.
Economic growth could fall by half over the coming decades to just 1% per year, Spidla estimated.
He explicitly called for ways to “encourage the birth rate,” which is below the replacement level in most of Europe (Population Research Institute Weekly Briefing 8/12/05, www.pop.org).
Greenspan says that entitlements must be cut. AAPS News of the Day 2/26/04