With 1,000 would-be migrants drowned off the Libyan coast in a few days in April, The Economist gives the European Commission credit for at least acknowledging the scale of the problem but notes: “EU leaders are now willing to talk about how they might tackle it collectively. That is progress, but of the mildest sort.”
“With delicious timing this week the commission also published a sobering demographic forecast. By 2060, it said, the EU’s population will be in absolute decline. There will be just two workers for every man or woman over 65, compared to four today. If Europeans want to continue to fund the generous health care and pensions they have awarded themselves, then in the absence of a hitherto concealed fondness for procreation they will have to attract more workers from abroad.
The ambitious young men and women who leave their homelands for better lives in Europe might be a good fit for countries facing long-term labour shortages. But that is a hard sell when wages are stagnant and unemployment high. Moreover, countries would prefer to pick their migrants rather than the other way around. On how to manage channels for legal migration, and open EU markets to help neighbours develop their economies, the commission proposes little that is new and leaders will agree to even less. They need to be far braver.”
Read full article: Charlemagne: Small Boats, Choppy Seas. In The Economist, May 16th 2015 | BRUSSELS | From the print edition