Midis de la recherche

18 février 2020



Leclercq 82

Jan Van Bavel
(KU Leuven)

World Population Explosion, Migration and Solidarity in Europe

Massive world population growth has often been portrayed as a demographic “time bomb” threatening solidarity in Europe because of the combination of young and rapidly growing populations in the South and ageing and potentially shrinking populations in Europe. This combination is often depicted as a recipe for massive immigration flows from poor African countries, potentially undermining the European Social Model. I argue that the “time bomb” metaphor is misleading and unproductive. I review what we know about migration from Africa to Europe. Next, I discuss how and why policy responses to immigration in Europe have been inconsistent and ineffective, as they are misguided by a combination of Malthusian fears and the framing of migration as a matter of solidarity. Europe should open up new channels of safe and orderly migration, including labour migration. While anti-immigration sentiments are widespread, there also exist important manifestations of positive attitudes, particularly among younger generations.