Recent statistics have been revealed which point towards a figure of 44 million foreign workers required by the European Union by 2050. This will prove to be a severe test for the societies of most of Europe’s member states. The population of the EU is going to reduce drastically in the 21st century, from 13 percent of the world’s population to 7% by the middle of the century. The enlargement of the EU eastwards will not change matters greatly, since the birth rate in these countries is similar to that of the European Union. If the EU intends to increase its competitiveness and productivity, it needs to import workers, as was stipulated at the Lisbon Summit last year. This means that 44 million workers will have to be imported by the European Union by 2050, according to Eurostat, the European Statistics Agency. The trend for Europeans to have less children than immigrants starts a trend which will only accentuate in the next decades. In Spain, for example, the only reason why the population did not decline in recent years was because immigrant families had many more children than the Spanish. This trend is here to stay in the EU. Immigrants will naturally have more and more children and nationalism could rise as a consequence of a lack of communication between ethnic groups. What is happening in the Balkans today could well prove to be a forerunner of things to come within the EU in 30 years’ time. What is needed is a policy of inter-cultural exchange between ethnic groups, a flexible and dynamic education system and the firm conviction that the message “one planet, one people” is the path we must all take.
TIMOTHY BANCROFT-HINCHEY, PRAVDA.RU, LISBON