EU Commission Vows to Tackle Demographic Decline After New Report

BERLIN, GERMANY - MAY 16: German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen attends debates at the Bundestag over the federal budget on May 16, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. Today's debates are likely to be the most intense since the current Bundestag was constituted following last year's federal elections, as the …
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The European Commission has vowed to tackle the problem of the European Union’s demographic decline, as 2019 saw the second year in a row where deaths outnumbered births in the political bloc.

While some countries, such as Ireland and France, have maintained a positive birth-to-death ratio, other countries in the European Union, particularly in eastern Europe, continue to see low birthrates and a population whose average age continues to grow older.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has created a portfolio to address the issue, a report from French newspaper Le Figaro stated.

If current demographic trends continue, the total number of Europeans could fall by as much as five per cent in the 50 years between 2030 and 2070. A report released by the European Commission suggested that would also mean the EU would lose 18 per cent of its overall workforce by 2070, as well.

The cost of retirement benefits is also predicted to rapidly increase, as nearly one-in-three Europeans are projected to be over the age of 65 by 2070. By then, 13 per cent are predicted to be over 80.

Eastern European states such as Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania are facing not only low birthrates but an exodus from rural villages and towns as young people move to larger cities or move overseas for work opportunities.

Hungary has been one of the few EU countries to adopt a pro-family approach to the demographic problem by incentivising families of three or more children with a loan of 10 million forints (€30,590 or £27,000) to married couples that is forgiven after having three children.

The cash has been used by many couples towards housing, which, along with guaranteed mortgages loans with interest rates below three per cent, has led to a boost in property sales. Pro-family measures have seen results, with Hungarian Family Minister Katalin Novak reporting the birth rate had risen 5.5 per cent earlier this month.

Other countries, such as Germany, Belgium, and Sweden, have primarily relied on mass migration to combat the problem of their falling birthrates.

Earlier this year, Statistics Sweden reported that 73 per cent of the population growth in the country in 2019 had been due to mass migration. In Belgium, the figure was even higher, with 90 per cent of the growth driven by mass migration.

With young migrant populations, countries like Sweden and Belgium have seen ethnic tensions in recent weeks, particularly in the aftermath of the death of black American man George Floyd in the United States.

Both countries have seen riots erupt during Black Lives Matter protests along with other countries boasting high migrant-background populations. Meanwhile, Hungary and other countries with much lower migrant-background populations have seen few incidents by comparison.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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