NYT op-ed: If Europe doesn’t invest in newcomers, family and work, it’s doomed.

…What does the Continent need? Most economists and pundits focus on monetary and fiscal policy, as well as labor-market reform. Get the policy levers and economic incentives right, and the Continent might escape the vortex of decline, right?

Probably not. As important as good economic policies are, they will not fix Europe’s core problems, which are demographic, not economic. This was the point made in a speech to the European Parliament in November by none other than Pope Francis. As the pontiff put it, “In many quarters we encounter a general impression of weariness and aging, of a Europe which is now a ‘grandmother,’ no longer fertile and vibrant.”

But wait, it gets worse: Grandma Europe is not merely growing old. She is also getting dotty. She is, as the pope sadly explained in an earlier speech to a conference of bishops, “weary with disorientation.”

Some readers might regret the pope’s use of language — we love our grandmothers, weary with disorientation or not. But as my American Enterprise Institute colleague Nicholas Eberstadt shows in his research, the pope’s analysis is fundamentally sound.

Start with age. According to the United States Census Bureau’s International Database, nearly one in five Western Europeans was 65 years old or older in 2014…

Next, look at fertility. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the last time the countries of the European Union were reproducing at replacement levels (that is, slightly more than two children per woman) was the mid-1970s. In 2014, the average number of children per woman was about 1.6. That’s up a hair from the nadir in 2001, but has been falling again for more than half a decade. Imagine a world where many people have no sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts or uncles. That’s where Europe is heading in the coming decades…

One bright spot might seem to be immigration. In 2012, the median age of the national population in the European Union was 41.9 years, while the median age of foreigners living in the union was 34.7. So, are Europeans pleased that there will be new arrivals to work and pay taxes when the locals retire?

Not exactly. Anti-immigrant sentiment is surging across the Continent. Nativist movements performed alarmingly well in European Parliament elections last year. Europe is less like a grandmother knitting placidly in the window and more like an angry grandfather, shaking his rake and yelling at outsiders to get off his lawn…

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  • jayme

    Europe is trying to protect its way of life while in Canada when was the last time was there a pro Canadian protest can’t think of one.

    • Observer

      But wouldn’t that be racist? (sarc)

  • Achmed

    If you don’t let more of our relatives in and give us government jobs or good government benefits we will grow angrier.

  • Martin B

    We can always trust the NYT to tell us we must open the floodgates or we’re doomed, and that more Muzz means a brighter future.

    • Clausewitz

      The paper that shilled for Stalin. What do you expect from these Limousine Liberals.

  • Surele Surele

    quiet, but deathly whisper: Get off MY lawn!!!!!

    • Clausewitz

      This…………….

      • Surele Surele

        Exactly.

  • Iamnotweetoddit

    Europe survived two great wars and spanish flu, but have they the backbone to survive Islam? Just ask King Sobieski of poland.