Due to low fertility, increasing life expectancy and restricted
immigration policies, Europe’s demographic make-up is bound to change
dramatically over the next decades. This will entail significant
challenges, particularly in terms of Europe’s competitiveness on
the global market and the viability of its existing social security
Although immigration can partially, and temporarily, compensate
for the population decline, it is not an adequate long-term instrument
to counter the “greying” of the European population; changes in
the working age and better utilisation of the domestic work force
are the most promising measures to compensate for the effects of
low birth rates and ageing.
In order for migration to contribute to the solution of population
ageing, European governments will need to do more to attract “desired”
migration flows and to respond to real short-term and long-term
labour market needs, while at the same time discouraging the “undesired”
flows of migration and human trafficking. The integration of migrants
will continue to be a major challenge.
Member states are therefore called upon to adopt a set of
policy measures that tackle low fertility, ageing and migration
management – promoting a comprehensive approach – which are able
to adapt to the new demographic realities in Europe.