In the same week that the European Parliament voted in favor of a resolution labeling the Great Replacement theory as “racist,” the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia reported that the United Nations, the Wittgenstein Center in Austria, and the Center for Global Development in Washington D.C. are all advocating that Europe needs at least 60 million migrants in the coming decades “to survive” and that most of this immigration should come from Africa.
The UN, which has long advocated for “replacement migration” as a solution to Europe’s aging population, is now warning that Europe will not gain these migrants “if it does not stop being a fortress against immigration,” according to the Spanish paper.
The UN estimates that in 2050, the EU will have a shortage of 60.8 million workers, and the Wittgenstein Center for Demography and Global Human Capital argues this shortage will be even higher, placing it at 72.7 million. Both organizations are using their own estimates to advocate for further mass immigration.
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“It will not be enough to lengthen the retirement age, bring more women into the labor market, or increase the birth rate. Nor will it be enough to further robotize the productive economy or to continue offshoring jobs as we have been doing,” says Charles Kenny, a senior fellow at the Center for Social Development in Washington D.C. “None of this will save Europe from an aging population.”
He continued by saying that “Africa has to save Europe from the demographic crisis (…) Only immigration can correct this imbalance, and immigration of African origin will be the most natural way to provide the labor needed to maintain growth.”
Kenny’s claim that African immigrants — potentially tens of millions of them — should fill Europe’s workforce would not only radically transform the continent’s demographics, but would ignite societal and even civilizational repercussions. As for Kenny’s claims about immigrants saving Europe’s job market, there is already substantial data from a range of countries that casts doubts on the idea that “only immigration” can save Europe and its job market
There has been, after all, ample immigration from Africa and the Middle East, and so far, this has delivered poor results. Data from Germany, for example, shows that nearly half the migrants who made their way to Europe during the 2015 and 2016 crisis remain unemployed, and even those that are employed work mostly as low-skilled labor, often earning so little that they are eligible for social benefits from the state.
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In fact, Europe’s migrant population has been a net drain on state finances in many countries, including in Denmark, which spends €5 billion a year on integration efforts — efforts that have mostly failed. In fact, the non-Western migrant population is so poorly integrated that Danes are overwhelmingly against accepting more immigrants. Even the country’s left-wing Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has promoted a policy of “zero” asylum seekers.
“Every fifth young man with a non-Western background born in 1997 had broken the law before turning 21. It’s not everyone. But there are too many young men who take the freedom of others, steal children’s futures, intimidate prison guards, and leave behind a long trail of insecurity,” said Frederiksen in 2021. Her position on migration is so popular that during snap elections on Nov. 1, she not only won a new mandate to rule, but her party is also by far the largest in Denmark.
It is not just liberal Denmark. In Norway, only about half of migrants work despite €6.6 billion invested in job integration efforts. In France, migration costs the country €25 billion a year, and many migrants remain unemployed even after years. Meanwhile, Germany announced two years ago it was spending €64.5 billion on education, social services, housing, and language courses to integrate the foreigners it already has. Those massive financial sums were disbursed even before nearly 1.5 million more migrants arrived in Germany this year.
If the UN report and Kenny’s claims are to be believed, these migrants should be heralded as a much-needed boost to Germany’s workforce. But the reality is that 12 out of 16 German states have already closed their borders entirely to new refugees, arguing their housing, social services, and education system are on the verge of being overloaded.
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Data also refutes the argument that there will be integration problems in the beginning, but these will be outweighed by the benefits migrants eventually bring. The Turkish population, for example, which has in many cases been in Germany for multiple generations, is considered per many metrics to be the most poorly integrated group in the entire country. The promise of bringing in needed doctors, lawyers, and engineers, an idea elevated by proponents of mass immigration, has also not materialized. Most migrants feature low skills and little education; in some cases, migrants’ skills are so lackig that there is no viable path for them in Europe’s job market.
Others simply prefer to collect social benefits rather than toiling in low-wage, menial labor. Even in instances where doctors and engineers have been recruited from Africa, this raises troubling moral questions. Does Europe deserve to poach the best and brightest from countries in dire need of competent professionals? If economies merely needed young people to provide a better future, then Africa would be on the path to economic success. However, despite an abundance of young people, these countries are rife with corruption, have little to offer in terms of patents and innovation, and feature extreme insecurity and high crime levels.
Simply importing these young people to Europe will not work, according to many politicians, intellectuals, and policymakers. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, for example, has said the future of Africans is in Africa; he has put forward an alternative path, one which involves boosting the birth rate of Europeans.
“In all of Europe, there are fewer and fewer children, and the answer of the West to this is migration,” said Orbán in 2018. “They want as many migrants to enter as there are missing kids so that the numbers will add up. We Hungarians have a different way of thinking. Instead of just numbers, we want Hungarian children. Migration for us is surrender.”
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Many of Hungary’s aggressive pro-family policies have already paid off, but it would likely take a concerted effort across Europe to really see dividends from this strategy. A falling population and restrictions on international capital could actually benefit Europe’s demographic situation by helping ease housing prices, ensuring Europeans can afford the homes and apartments they need to feel secure starting families. At the same time, Europeans are increasingly wary of sending their children to schools featuring high rates of diversity, forcing parents to instead pay for expensive private schools — a trend that may only worsen the demographic picture and become more problematic as immigration increases.
A brain drain in Africa due to Western nations’ immigration agenda will also likely only further fuel strife and conflict in a continent facing a population explosion, which is why conservatives in Europe have long argued that the smartest immigrants should remain in their countries where they can help buid up a functioning system.
Despite these moral quandaries — along with integration problems and growing migrant crime — countries like Germany have pushed for even higher immigration numbers. The current left-wing government has long signaled it plans to drastically increase migrants to Germany and relax immigration rules, even as neighboring countries like Austria, Denmark, and Poland push for less immigration.
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At the same time, there is little doubt that Europe’s population is rapidly aging, and this trend presents a serious problem for the continent.
“An increasingly older population is a burden for economic growth and the welfare state,” said Juan Ramón Jiménez, an expert in migrations at CIDOB and doctor in Political and Social Sciences at UPF.
“Twenty percent of Spaniards and Europeans are over 65 years of age, an age group that will represent 30 percent (of the population) in 2070. Now there are three workers for every retired person, but when the baby boomers stop working, this proportion cannot be maintained. We are going to lose the working-age population, that is, those between 15 and 64 years of age.”
However, the reality is that the countries with the most immigration have often seen the poorest results. The United States, for example, which has accepted perhaps the highest number of migrants of any country in the world, has seen life expectancy drop even before Covid-19, public debt skyrocket to $30 trillion, inequality explode, high rates of segregation in schooling even in liberal cities, and falling real wages. The U.S. has accepted an unprecedented number of immigrants that has no real historical precedent, and despite the onging issues, proponents of mass immigration there have the same arguments as its supporers in Europe: All the problems will be fixed with simply more immigration.
Conversely, Japan, which has taken in virtually no outside immigrants, has virtually no inflation despite prices soaring around the world and higher life expectancy; it has also managed its shrinking labor force through AI and automation. Despite Kenny’s claims, the problem of a shrinking labor force will only accelerate in the coming years; however, there are worries there will not be enough jobs even for those who wish to work over the coming 20 to 30 years, especially if advances in autonomous vehicles continue.
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The UN, Wittgenstein Center, and Kenny also fail to factor in the price of an ethnically and culturally splintered Europe. Political polarization is growing around the issues of race and, to some extent, also religion, and these issues will only grow over time as White Europeans grow closer to minority status. This means that politics will increasingly devote more time to these issues surrounding identity rather than taking care of the core concerns of citizens.
Crime is also invariably a factor, and an extremely expensive one at that. Significant amounts of police hours are now dedicated to simply managing the issues presented by multiculturalism, whether it is booming organized drug mafias in the Netherlands; waves of sexual assault in Sweden, Germany, Italy, and Belgium; or the significantly elevated terror threat seen in Europe.
Despite claims that the Great Replacement is a conspiracy theory, the situation is both quantifiable and empirically true, according to a range of demographers, intellectuals, and politicians. Europe is already struggling with a housing crisis, crowded classrooms, and problems with integration, both in terms of language and cultural norms. The introduction of 60 million more migrants by 2050 into some of the most densely populated countries in the world will likely lead to an explosive situation, both politically and societally, and is unlikely to be the panacea many experts predict.