Zonnebeke, by William Orpen
Two World Wars
Europe faced two dreadful wars in the 20th century. From 1914 to 1918 the First World War ravaged the continent. Or, as it was known back then, the Great War. After the war, borders are changed and we see a new Europe. In 1939 the Second World War starts. It continues up to 1945. Most countries continue to celebrate the day of their country’s liberation.
In both cases, those in power found a solution. The victors draw new borders on the map. Borders that have something different about them. The borders follow cultural groups. The peoples of Europe are given their own countries. Why did this happen? Clearly, the idea was that this would help maintain the peace. And it was a great idea, but unfortunately some details had been forgotten.
Orpheus Before Hades and Persephone, by Francois Perrier – Orpheus attempted to bring the dead back to life
European Nations Shrinking And Growing
We will show you a forecast of what the population sizes in different European countries will be in 2050. Some nations are growing, some are shrinking. What would be the effects of such shrinking populations? We have seen it before in Japan, but the last time it happened in Europe was when the plague was ravaging the continent. That is, apart from the occasional setback due to war, but on the larger scale those were generally small and short-lived.
What effects should we expect from population decline and how can we cope with these?
Prometheus Bound, by Jacob Jordaens
Changes In The European Population Size
The fertility rate in Europe being as low as it is, will impact the population size. Yet Europe is doing something to counter this. A few years ago Merkel opened the doors of Europe to immigrants from the Middle East and Africa. Although there certainly are refugees coming from the ravaged warzone that we call Syria – many more are flowing in through Africa. The general premises held by the Europeans are: 1) Europe has a large population, 2) The amount of immigrants will not seriously impact the European overall population.
European Cavalry Battle Scene, by Oetinger
Peace In Europe
When we discussed the idea that Europe does not need the EU, we received feedback from people claiming Europe will descent into war without the EU. It is a common idea and actively propagated by the European Union officials themselves. The choice, as they like to phrase it, is between Union and War. In 2012 the EU was even awarded the Nobel peace prize.
Yet, could this be a mere false dilemma?
Birth of Venus, by Botticelli
The Fertility of Europe
It is commonly discussed that Europe has a greying population. The continent experienced a ‘baby boom’ after World War 2. Peace and prosperity triggered many large families in this new blissful era. Only 70 years ago, Europe’s population grew massively.
Now that our populations are not growing so quick anymore, governments are saying migrants are required to fill the gap. Why is it that a population has to continue growing all the time? Would a shrinking population be such a dangerous thing?
Battle of Kircholm, by Wojciech Kossak
Beata Szydlo, Prime Minister of Poland since 16th of November 2016, recently lashed out at the EU. Back in March of this year, she accused the EU of blackmail when they threatened to fine Poland if they did not take a certain number of migrants that have been entering Europe from Africa and the Middle East. Only last month, June 2017, the EU announced to start legal proceedings against Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary, for not wanting to cooperate with the EU relocation plan for migrants. The Polish Prime Minister responded to these threats by saying they would rather face EU sanctions than to change their migrant policy.
The Polish here leads a minority of countries within the EU, which fearlessly retaliates when the EU threatens them. How come the Poles are so willing to accept the wrath of the EU? To understand this question, one must first understand the history of the country.
Charles Frederick Ulrich, The Glass Blowers
A Decade Later
A decade since the great crash of 2008, unemployment is still a problem in some areas of Europe. Most notable are Greece, Spain and Italy; Greece of course the most severe with an unemployment rate of over 20%. We discussed in an earlier article that the idea that Europe needs migrants to fill the demand for labour is absurd. Europe is not facing a labour shortage – merely an issue with matching the location of the employer and the worker.
The Ruins of Syria
The War comes to an end
The civil war against Islamic State in Syria appears to be dwindling down. Islamic State fighters are driven into an ever-shrinking territory. Their Iraqi capital of Mosul, where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed the caliphate three years ago, has fallen to the Iraqi army. And recently, their Syrian capital of Raqqa has succumbed to the Kurds. The revenue being generated by the Islamic State has declined by over 80%, greatly diminishing their military capability.
IS’ defeat looks like a certainty, which means Syrians might want to focus on the future. Fighting may continue for a while with the various factions in Syria; but many areas such as Aleppo are increasingly safe. As day to day life returns to the ancient cities of Syria, rebuilding becomes a necessity. Earlier articles discussed that Europe doesn’t need Syrians to fill job vacancies, and that Syrians don’t constitute a reliable plan to save the European pension funds.
One more unaddressed economic argument, however, remains: the Syrian economy itself.