An opportunity rather than a threat?

Article published on Oct. 16, 2007
community published
Article published on Oct. 16, 2007
In many parts of Europe, the local population is ageing, partly through declining birth rates, partly because young people leave in search for employment. However, at the same time other regions are undergoing rejuvenation, not least due to the impact of immigration.
In some areas of our continent, such developments even take place in parallel, leading to significant changes in the demographic and ethnic set up of the population.

How does this affect societies in Europe – their structure, their culture, their cohesion? How does it affect Europe’s relationship with a predominantly younger world, in which many countries especially in Africa and Asia have a birth rate much higher than Europe’s average?

Whilst this debate generally is dominated by valid concerns about the negative impact of ageing or shrinking populations, recently an increasing number of voices seem to highlight that smaller and more mature societies may also bring a lot of benefits – less pressure on the environment, a smaller carbon footprint, less crime, less unemployment, new markets for new products, to name but a few.