27 thoughts on “Europe Blog Assignment #2

  1. Reblogged this on Neverending Wanderlust and commented:
    These images reveal many of the social and demographic changes that have occurred in Europe recently. The EU is currently at a fork in the road; it must decide whether it wants to make the effort to integrate all European people into the European project, or whether it wants to remain a Christian club for the foreseeable future. Clashes between white, Christian Europeans and Muslim Europeans have become more and more visible in recent years. For example, media coverage of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris dominated global headlines for weeks. The increasing visibility of these clashes begs the question: Can the EU and Islam peacefully coexist?

    The answer, obviously, depends on who you ask. Far-right political parties like Farage’s UKIP and Le Pen’s Front National preach that immigrants, especially Muslim ones, pose a lethal threat and are the root cause of their countries’ problems. This is blatantly untrue. France and Britain would clearly still have problems, even if they were 100% homogenous. However, these parties feed on the fear they create through othering, and have been quite successful so far.

    The truth, however, is that there are far more Muslims in Europe that consider themselves European (or British, or French, etc.) than there are who want to bring down Western society. Children in schools such as the Waterhead Academy, which is largely divided between white and Pakistani students, have proven this. Although the students may come from vastly different backgrounds, they can come together at school to learn and share life experiences together. Immigrant youths in Britain tend to be integrating more quickly and completely into British society than their elders, but that does not mean that older immigrants remain completely separate from European societies (Goodhart). Just like their children, they can integrate into society while still maintaining their own cultural traditions, as shown by the burqa-clad woman holding a child, who is waving a British flag.

    On its own, the population of Europe is rapidly aging. The baby boom of 1945-1975 is over, and fertility rates have decreased to below replacement levels in most countries. Now, there are large numbers of older citizens depending on a dwindling number of working age adults. Most of the (small) overall population growth in Europe can be attributed to immigration. Immigrants come to Europe to improve their lives and give their children a chance at a better life. These children raised in Europe could help the continent overcome the problem of its rapidly aging population since they will grow up invested in the success of their home. However, if Europeans continue to be xenophobic and push them away, many immigrants may look elsewhere.

    Regardless of the demographic and social situation in the EU, many outside the Union still see it as the prime example of international cooperation. The economic and political benefits of being in the EU are clear, which leads many, like people in western Ukraine, to push for their countries to join. Whatever problems may come with membership, they see it as better to be in the club than out of it.

    Works cited

    Goodhart, David. “A Very British School.” Prospect Magazine May 2013. Web. 22 Feb. 2015. .

  2. The two top photos represent France’s historic motto, which promotes equality, liberty, fraternity and secularism. Following the French Revolution, the idea that all citizens were to be defined as French, flourished as a means of recognition. Religions, ethnicity, and family history were disregarded as the main components of human value, and the idea of French nationalism played as the key factor in defining the individual. This is the reason why the French census does not record the population by religion. While being French is heralded as a unifying factor amongst the population, secularism is also a controversial and important factor of the French identity as well. You can see in the top two photos that women are allowed to veil if they choose to in public places, because there is freedom of expression. France places emphasis on the state rather than the individual. This combines the nationalist icons like the French flag and slogans. The division between religion and politics comes into controversy for devout Jews and Muslims who desire to veil, but are denied this right when they hold positions in public institutions. Therefore the principle of secularism is regarded very seriously in France, as public institutions limit freedom of expression/religious dress.

    “The Slumping South” image represents the population predictions, showing that the population is going to lower dramatically in Italy and Spain, while France stays relatively stagnant. The representation of Italy on the graph shows that it is one of the least fertile (but it does have a low infant mortality rate). Recently France has focused its policy on promoting people to have more children, in order to even out the generation gaps. The baby boomers are now becoming old and dependent, and therefore there is a necessity to increase the younger, working population in order to take care of the people who need government help. The fertility rate graph shows that France has been relatively successful in their attempt to convince people to have more children, which is probably why the population is stagnant on the left graph.

    The left bottom image is a representation of the institutionalist ideals that parallel the European Union. The European Union allowed for cooperation to create prosperity, diplomatic and economic relations, and peace between countries after many years of disastrous wars. The development from the European Coal and Steel Community in 1952, the movement and trade of agricultural and industrial goods allowed the economy of European states to flourish. This economic relationship also proved to be vital in calming relations in the post war period. While policies may fail in states like Greece, the overall success of the European Union has proved to be beneficial in the long run, as it promoted human rights, economy and home affairs. The general promotion of state improvement, and institutional development of the entire EU has gained many supporters over the years as it raised the standard of living in post war stricken states who desired to catch up to Western Europe.

  3. These photographs all pertain to the population of the EU and its future. Some look at the aging population and some look at the falling birthrates and the others look at immigration. These subjects all contribute to a changing and aging population that is the population of the European Union.
    The bottom right picture just gives an overview of what the age of the population of the EU is. Due to lower fertility rates, the EU overall has an older population. This is a trend in industrialized, first world countries. They tend to have lower and lower fertility rates and also have a much higher average age because their average death rate is low. The future of the EU population wise is a little iffy because the average age will continue to grow as birth rates continue to drop. Birth rates and death rates are both huge contributors to the average age of the population of the European Union.
    The bottom right picture really speaks a lot to the aging population of the EU. I also see this as a very symbolic picture. The elderly woman is covered or protected by the EU flag which is symbolic of the incredible care and social services provided to the elderly of the European Union. These are paid for, of course by much higher taxes than us Americans are used to. As the population continues to age, there will be less and less young people to collect taxes from in order to take care of all of those that are above retirement age in the EU. This is an issue that will need to be addressed at some time in the future, but, for now, the elderly are very well cared for and protected by the EU.
    The left middle graphs pertain to the changes over time in fertility and in the younger population and are comparing the different countries. One major thing I noticed about both is that Spain and Italy are predicted to have a dramatic decrease in the population of those 20-24 years of age. Spain also has had a decrease in fertility rate and Greece and Italy are forecasted to have a decrease in over-all population. The other countries, except for Russia are expected to have a fairly stable 20-24 year old population and are all expected to have population increase. Why are Spain, Greece and Italy all expected to have these negative changes? Their economies are all doing so poorly. This will cause their population to immigrate to places where they have better opportunities and also, fertility rates should fall because children are expensive and since their economies are doing so terribly, they will have less children.
    The top two pictures speak to the future of the EU and immigration. The top left shows how diverse the European population has become. For example, France has a substantial Jewish and Muslim population. Most have immigrated in. This is also demonstrated in the top right picture. It is also a shadow of the future. As the EU diversifies, they will not be able to continue to repel Turkey on the basis of the fact that their culture is so different. It will be interesting to see what happens.
    – Brooke Shimer

    • I absolutely agree that the pictures definitely show signs of the future of the EU and what is yet to come with future immigration. It is interesting to see how different things are today compared to what they were in the past. Religious tolerance has definitely increased. I liked how you pointed out the economic reason for less children in places such as Greece and Italy due to their failing economy. It is really sad to see such beautiful cities go down so quickly. I see things only getting worse for those countries but I hope I am wrong because I think it would definitely bring great things if those failing countries could return to their former glories that they held before they fell into economic turmoil.

      Jillian Akers

  4. The images showing here are representing the different in age within the European Union and others. There is good evidence that shows that the population of the countries in the EU have lots of older people living in them and less younger people. This is a very common thing to have in countries that are industrialized and have a good economy. The bottom left is showing an overview of what the population is looking like. As you can see it is a bell curve with a large number of people falling in the age range of 50’s and up. This can be contributed to the lower fertility rates within the Eu and its people. The Eu depends heavily on its population to stay high and to keep having more and more people join into the European Union. This would help with many things from taxes to health care services, which if you know anything about the health care in Europe it is one that helps the people out very much.
    As some people may know, that having a larger population will allow you to draw more taxes in and in turn help to support your “universal” health care system that goes for all of the countries that are within the EU. This can been shown by the Woman in the picture in the bottom left corner. She has the European Union flag draped around her body as if she is using it to protect her from unhealthy things. This is a really good image to use if you really want to get a picture across. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and I am sure that you can read into this picture that much. But as some have pointed out, there is a problem with this idea of having the health care come from the EU for say. In order for the elderly people to be able to continue to receive this money to help support them father they have left the work force, there needs to be a younger population to collect taxes from. But if you look at the graphs that are posted right along side this image, and even the images and facts we were given to us during class, there is a problem that needs to be brought up.
    This is the fact that the population is getting older so more people are pulling out of this health care system, but the younger population is not growing as fast as it needs to be to be able to support this goring age group. What I am trying to say is that if the younger population is shirking in size then over the time the money that is flowing in from the higher taxes payed by the Europeans, then people will have to work longer and this could hurt the age at which people are dying. One example of this is the second graph on the left side of the image. This is showing the population of people ages 20-24 will take a huge hit and go down which in turn is going to impact the overall healthcare that is going to be offered to the elderly people. As I stated before, this is an issue that needs to be brought up sooner rather than later. Further more, different ideas need to be thought up as to how they are going to get the younger population to go back up, wither its through having more kids, or finding a way to get more immigrants to come to the countries and start having kinds. It is a problem and it can blossom into an even bigger one if there is no action taken.

    Bryan Webb

  5. For me personally, one of the more interesting demographic statistics that we have discussed in class so far is the idea of a dependency ratio. That such statistics existed and that the numbers were so much higher than I would have thought were both a surprise. That being said, I feel like the dependency ratio is underrepresented as a function of the declining birth rates seen in many modern states, especially the many European states and especially those located in the geographic south of Europe. In looking at the chart provided, many of the countries in southern Europe, like Italy and Greece, have high dependency ratios. I wonder how much of a factor such statistics are in peoples’ decisions to have or not have children?
    My first thought was that if I was a prospective parent but had an older parent to look after; I would be, of course, more reluctant to have a child because I would then, obviously, be on the economic hook for two dependents instead of one. This would have the effect of lowering birth rates, and in countries where the economic conditions are already sub-optimal, the added stress of an elderly dependent on a household would no doubt influence their opinion in such a manner as attempting to grow said household. Having said that, I can also not help but wonder at what point this sort of phenomena becomes a (measurable) factor in the long term economic well-being of a state? If people forgo having children at a replacement level because they are economically burdened with elderly dependents, will they in turn become elderly dependents and therefore increase the scale and scope of the problem? At what point does the cycle stop harming the economies of these countries if the natural increase is negative, especially in states like Italy and Greece, which have some of the most depressed economic situations in all of Europe? Or does the problem continue to persist so long as natural increase rates are negative, compounding the already present economic issues?
    You cannot argue that dependency ratios are in and of themselves an excellent indicator of current and future economic distress in a region or in a state. Other factors, like moronic banking practices, a general unwillingness to provide taxes from one’s income, and other such phenomena surely contribute at least as much to the current economic state of affairs in Europe, and particularly southern Europe. However, I felt when going through this prompt and in discussing demographics in the last few classes that it was a question that I could not help but ask.
    One possible scenario that I found discussed in the Economist in some depth on a more of a global basis is the idea that more and more of the relatively elderly will be found in the workplace. The article mentions that while in April 2014, around 600 million, or eight percent of the population, was 65 or older, by 2035 that number will be on the upper side of one billion, representing an estimated 13 percent of the world’s total population. Given Europe’s lower birthrates, one can only assume an even harsher increase in Europe than elsewhere in the globe, as areas with larger TFR, etc. will drag up the European statistics. They couple this idea with the proposition that the workforce will either diversify to include a greater proportion of older workers-therefore allowing the dependency ratio a sort of stability, in theory, or that the increasing number of elderly dependents will drag down the economies of afflicted states into a morass of rising interest rates, falling asset prices, and general economic stagnation. Personally, I agree with the notion presented by the Economist that better educated European populations, combined with debt-laden European governments retracting pension plans and raising retirement ages, may well serve to stave off the aforementioned ill effects through incentivizing an increase in the size of the elderly workforce, although not without consequences for many other demographic groups in the European population, like young workers and lesser educated workers, and not without at least some of the aforementioned ills like rising interest rates and stagnation of investment coming to pass.

    Economist Article Link: http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21601248-generation-old-people-about-change-global-economy-they-will-not-all-do-so

    Eurostat Link that I used: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/tgm/graph.do?tab=graph&plugin=1&language=en&pcode=tsdde510&toolbox=type

  6. The images shown represent two different outcomes for the foreseeable future of the European Union. The first dealing with the largely growing rates of the average age rising among certain states, called the “Slumping South” countries like Spain and Italy have a population that is getting older, but is not keeping up a normal birth rate. This is leading to a change in the demographic of the region with an aging population that is not being replaced by a sustainable birth rate. This is also shown in their fertility rates both substantially under the threshold for a sustainable population. This in turn will lead to a population decline over the following years, if measures are not put in place to heighten the birth rates among the aging countries. This will also affect the other members in that the social welfare programs setup by the European Union will have to shift to allocate more resources to theses aging populations. While this trend isn’t across the entirety of the European continent a trend in Mediterranean countries and an ageing population can be derived, but it must be stated that even the stagnant populations of the UK, France, and the Netherlands are also lower than the standard birth rate but it hasn’t shown the same drastic signs of a disappearance of the younger demographics as the other two states have showcased.
    The latter of the two outcomes has to deal with the identity of Europe and who can consider themselves European. While Europe does have large populations of non-Christians existing throughout its boundaries, for the most part it has existed as having a predominantly Christian identity throughout it. This though could change if the acceptance of Turkey into the European Union is ratified, a state that geographically lays both in Europe and in Asia, and whose people also show this amongst them. Being a country of predominantly Muslims in Europe offers a challenge, in that none has existed and could rival the current status quo with its large population. If accepted it would shift the dynamics of EU operation drastically due to its great population, it would be among the largest in both population and land size in the European Union and would cause an entire reapportionment of members in European parliament for all other states. Though it does face stiff opposition by some members, one reason being that even though part of it does lay in Europe the majority of the state resides on the Anatolian Peninsula of the upper Middle East, and for the refusal to acknowledge the Armenian genocide of the 20th century . Although if it was to gain acceptance into the EU it could help with the growing problem of the ageing population in certain states, through the SEA, the movement of people could then allow for new populations to develop in these older areas boosting the population demographics of the regions. This in turn could eventually lead to a reemergence of a younger population in the affect regions of the European Union.

    Connor Maloskie

  7. Brittney Stump
    EUST 4003

    The images in this blog represent various demographics seen throughout Europe that are affecting the European Union. The European Union has always been a prominent Christian organization, but an increase in Muslim Europeans is occurring. For example, France promotes equality and liberty, even with religious and political controversy. Though France has had a history of religious and cultural violence, the country as a whole has overcome its prejudices. Muslim women are allowed the freedom to veil in public places and many more rights. France is attempting to focus on the state, instead of the individual with the support of the European Union. The European Union enables countries to follow France’s example with passing regulations that supersede existing laws in member countries. By giving up some power to the European Union, the European Union is able to establish a sense of European identity that slowly surpassed individual nation-state identity.
    The “Slumping South” graph and chart represent various European countries populations throughout time. According to the graph on the left, the population in Italy and Spain is going to decrease dramatically over the next few decades. The chart on the right displays fertility rates from 1990 to a predicted rate in 2050. All countries are predicted to have a slight growth, except for Russia, Spain, and Sweden. Fertility rates are currently below replacement levels and the baby boomers of the mid-1900’s is aging. As incomes rise in a country, fertility rates tend to decline. Individuals are focusing more on their careers, than families, and are withholding from marriage longer. Some countries, like France, are trying to promote child-rearing in an attempt to fix the age gap. Immigration is adding to overall population growth in Europe, but countries like Britain are experiencing forms of racial intolerance toward migrants. Immigration is one of the issues Britain faces with being a member of the European Union. Britain is an island country and has always appreciated isolation from Europe. Today, part of the British population is begging for that separation again so that is can return to its pre-war glory. Britain has never been a fan of receiving orders and the European Union is starting to eat away at its sovereignty.
    The goal of the European Union has been to create prosperity, political and financial relations, and amity between all European countries after the two world wars. In 1952, the European Coal and Steel Community was established to create a common market for coal and steel among its member states, a basis of free trade barriers among member countries. The European Coal and Steel Community hoped to neutralize competition between European countries. The original members were Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy, Netherlands, and Luxembourg. What started off as an organization of six, has grown into a community of 28 member countries. The overall success of the European Union has been outstanding and provided numerous benefits to assist its members. Over the years, the European Union has established numerous supporters of their missions. As more countries wish to join the EU, the organization must address its cultural demographics issues.

    words: 500

  8. As I examine the pictures posted for this assignment I wonder what the future of the European Union will be like in years to come. It seems changes have brought unforeseen consequences that either will strengthen or weaken the Union. What was meant to unified Europe and keep a post WWII Germany in check, evolved into what could be considered — if not already— the largest super state in the world. A super state with its own iconography — granted, an official language will never be established but it seems everything else has (flag, anthem, currency).
    With a fertility rate that seems to be declining in some nations —while stagnant in others— how will the future EU be shaped? What will be the ethnic makeup that will prevail or dominate in Europe? The pictures show and older caucasian woman wrapped in the EU flag, a group of ethnically mixed students of young age, and a small boy holding a British flag while held by his mother wearing a burka.
    The one picture that got my attention was the lonely woman wrapped in the EU flag. Are her aged features a symbol of the antiquated EU that is facing such tremendous changes? Does the pic represent the old Union and how it is coming to an end no matter how much we desperately try to hold to the ideals of the original six? It seems she looks in the opposite direction than the rest of the people in the picture, all with their backs turned to her. Maybe it is a symbol of the decreasing older population as a result of decades of low birth rates in the European landmass. Maybe it is a warning the time for the old EU is coming to an end and a new EU must take its place.
    As I examined the other two pictures I see a different and new face representing the ethnic spectrum in Western Europe. The skin tones have changes. The cultural attires expected have changed to a strange and unfamiliar code more associated with the middle east and South East Asia. Is that the new face of Europe? Will that be the dominant groups?
    What other changes are in store? Will the majority religious beliefs of Christianity be displaced by Islam and south asian religious beliefs? What will that mean for the rest of the world? It seems this coming together of cultural and religious beliefs are colliding with each other and creating massive rifts between the new comers and the people from the countries experiencing this explosion of diversity.
    I ask the question, how does one adjust to such a change? How do you welcome into your neighborhoods, your towns, your cities, your countries people who bring with them such a different approach to life than yours? The newcomers want to be part of that society, but how do you become part of a society when you refuse to make changes to adapt to your new surroundings? All I can see is more problems in the future.
    Europeans by large a very proud and traditionalist people. They do not like their customs altered by newcomers. They believe the land and culture make them who they are and will not be willing to make changes to accommodate newcomers. Specially newcomers bringing with them such a different language, ideology, iconography and religious beliefs than theirs.

  9. Sorry for the Repeat. I realised there were some grammatical errors and misspelling which have been corrected.
    *****************************************************************************************************************
    As I examine the pictures posted for this assignment I wonder what the future of the European Union will be like in years to come. It seems changes have brought unforeseen consequences that either will strengthen or weaken the Union. What was meant to unified Europe and keep a post WWII Germany in check, evolved into what could be considered — if not already— the largest super state in the world. A super state with its own iconography — granted, an official language will never be established but it seems everything else has (flag, anthem, currency).
    With a fertility rate that seems to be declining in some nations —while stagnant in others— how will the future EU be shaped? What will be the ethnic makeup that will prevail or dominate in Europe? The pictures show an older caucasian woman wrapped in the EU flag, a group of ethnically mixed students of young age, and a small boy holding a British flag while held by his mother wearing a burka.
    The one picture that got my attention was the lonely woman wrapped in the EU flag. Are her aged facial features a symbol of the antiquated EU that is facing such tremendous changes? Does the picture represent the old Union and how it is coming to an end no matter how much we desperately try to hold to the ideals of the original six? It seems she looks in the opposite direction than the rest of the people in the picture, all with their backs turned to her. Maybe it is a symbol of the decreasing older population as a result of decades of low birth rates in the European landmass. Maybe it is a warning the time for the old EU is coming to an end and a new EU must take its place.
    As I examined the other two pictures I see a different and new face representing the ethnic spectrum in Western Europe. The skin tones have changed. The cultural attires expected have changed to a strange and unfamiliar code more associated with the Middle East and South East Asia. Is that the new face of Europe? Will that be the dominant group?
    What other changes are in store? Will the majority religious beliefs of Christianity be displaced by Islam and south asian religious beliefs? What will that mean for the rest of the world? It seems this coming together of cultural and religious beliefs is more like a collision creating massive rifts between the newcomers and the people from the countries experiencing this explosion of diversity.
    I ask the question, how does one adjust to such a change? How do you welcome into your neighborhoods, your towns, your cities, your countries people who bring with them such a different approach to life than yours? The newcomers want to be part of that society, but how do you become part of a society when you refuse to make changes to adapt to your new surroundings? All I can see is more problems in the future.
    Europeans by large a very proud and traditionalist people. They do not like their customs altered by newcomers. They believe the land and culture make them who they are and will not be willing to make changes to accommodate newcomers. Specially newcomers bringing with them such a different ideology, language, iconography and religious beliefs than theirs.

  10. Cortney Paege
    EUST 4003

    The pictures represent the different demographics seen throughout the European Union. The
    European Union has greatly changed since its start with only six members. With the growth of the organization form 6 to 28member states, the states in the European Union are now much more diverse and will continue to add to the diversity with each new addition. One example of this is how the EU has primarily been a “Christian Club” in past years. The Top left and right pictures both depict Europeans in Muslim attire. There are Muslims living in EU states but all countries in the EU have a majority Christian population. With upcoming additions, they have the opportunity to greatly increase their Muslim population. Depending on who you ask this could be either very beneficial to the organization or a disadvantage. Turkey will be the first addition to the EU that is not a majority Christian state like all the rest. If Turkey does end up joining the European Union, it will be interesting with them being a Muslin majority state after the recent violence in France.
    All of these pictures represent the European Union as a whole entity besides one. The goal of the EU is to create a European nationalism rather than state nationalism. However the top right picture is a flag of Great Britain. In upcoming years some of the people in Britain hope to see it pulled out of the EU. The bottom left picture even shows a woman wrapped in the EU flag rather than her countries flag. For the most part the EU has helped build a European nationalism besides in Britain. This separate nationalism is due to the fact that the UK has been able to opt out of several laws like the Social charter as well as using the Euro. They consider themselves superior to other EU member states. This issue really comes down to what Europeans identify themselves as; as either European or being identified by their own state.
    The “social dumping” chart represents the population of 5 of the founding countries over the years. Spain and Italy seem to be the two countries with a significantly lower and decreasing population of 20-24 year olds in the first graph. According to the second graph, measuring fertility rate, again Italy and Spain have a much lower fertility rate than other countries. Greece also had a very low fertility rate compared to other countries. These countries also seem to be some of the countries having the most issues in the European Union. Of the countries on the fertility chart Russia, Spain and Sweden are the only Countries with no real increase in fertility rate. The bottom right picture also shows population divided up by age of states in the European Union. The population of states in the European Union has a huge impact on the number of parliamentary representatives each country gets. Especially with the possibility of Turkey entering the EU, parliamentary seat could become a major issue with who gets how many. Especially with Turkeys huge population being the 2nd largest population out of EU states.

  11. Jessica Nelson
    GEOG 4783

    The images above show the major demographic changes Europe has been undergoing. From the aging population to the increase in immigration rates, Europe is trying to adjust and integrate the society productively.
    The first picture I would like to examine is the bottom right. This photo contains information on the age of the people living in the European Union in the year 2012. Following World War II, Europe was left with millions dead and a shattered economy. Europe needed to rebuild not only their decimated homes and cities but their population. A generation of men was lost or forever changed in some countries but when the soldiers came home at the end of the war in 1945 a baby boom arose. The baby boom generation lasted all the way up into the 1970s and this generation in directly correlated to the older European population shown in the chart peaking at the ages 40-49. But what made people start having less babies? In Eastern Europe, or Communist Europe, people were having less babies because everyone, including women, were working full time and had less time to raise kids. Mothers had to be both caretakers of the home and money makers. Fertility rates plummeted from the Balkans all the way into Poland. Western Europe was also experiencing low fertility rates. Countries like Sweden and France were openly encouraging their citizens to use contraceptives. The graph shown in the middle left called “The slumping south” dives further into these low rates. In the left chart we see the 20-24 aged population in five different countries. France, Britain, and the Netherlands have a fairly average, compacted trend in their 20-24 aged population. However, Italy and Spain are on a downslope only predicted to keep falling. Italy and Spain are showing major issues arising as their populations continue to age and reproduces at incredibly slow rates. These are countries filled with dependents which will not help the economy. The bottom left image shows an older woman in an EU flag and this I take as a symbol of the aging population issues they are facing.
    The top two photos show immigration from the Middle East into Europe. The picture on the right shows a Muslim woman holding her son and in his hand is a British flag. Perhaps she has come to the United Kingdom seeking political freedom, or freedom to practice her religion. Whatever the reason she is obviously happy and at peace. Her child is holding the flag of the United Kingdom, because this is most likely his new home free of the turmoil and destruction of the Middle East. He is free to practice his religion and pursue a life of happiness, while gaining knowledge through one of the best education systems in the world. Which is what brings me to the top left picture. Pictured here is a group of school children predominately Middle Eastern and probably all immigrants and children of immigrants.
    Europe now faces the problem of trying to blend the old with the new.

  12. The images shown bring up an important crisis Europe and the EU are facing today. Immigration and identity issues are a defining part of being European. Especially following the French revolution, what it means to be “French” has been on center stage and free expression of their countries identity encouraged. The top 2 images illustrate the problem facing certain European nations today, as a large influx of muslim citizens have immigrated to countries in Europe from north Africa and elsewhere. Most of these citizens adjust to the European model of balanced politics, belief systems and ways of life, but much violence still plagues Europe from terrorist threats and attacks against free speech. This leaves Europe with a dilemma on how to solve these issues. Turning to the EU for a more united Europe means giving up some of the uniqueness in the way individual countries operate and their own definition of a free and just society. Leaders in these endeavors call for a more balanced economic plan in countries with hardships in unemployment and poverty.

    The issues addressing population decline in the “slumping south” bring up how countries such as Italy and Spain struggle with an aging population and declining birth rate. Many people in these countries as a result lack opportunities for work and appropriate health care, and an action plan from an EU agenda must be looked upon for help. Social action plans to set up more opportunities for younger generations in Mediterranean countries will be key to bringing their true identities as creative, driven and impassioned back to light. Although northern European countries populations are not as heavily declining, issues such as immigration from non traditional nations are also causing problems with employment and cultural issues such as learning a new language. It also brings to the forefront the EU response to the growing need for access to healthcare for a growing and aging population.

    The EU has worked throughout Europe, with these unique and culturally and linguistically diverse nations each having a say in what they think is the next best action for a united continent. Although it is still faced with many problems today with even more cultures migrating to separate countries, more unified action plans being put into place will benefit not only these separate countries but the individuals in them seeking more than their national identity through the course of their lifetimes. Every nation has its own problems, but the way that separate governments have come together in the past to create rational solutions to pressing issues says a lot about how these very different countries can come together on a singular European cause. I think the image of the lady dressing a EU flag over her says it best: as unique individuals we are all the same in what we want to see out of our world.

    Mike Overdorf

  13. Europe is in a period of change, no doubt. Perhaps it is the optimist in me, but I don’t see the immigration challenges, fertility decline, or aging population issues Europe is experiencing as the doomed end of it all some people make it out to be. Europe is experiencing a huge influx of illegal immigrants, and to learn more about the issue I read a fascinating article by The Economist. One cannot discuss immigration in Europe without mentioning the Schengen agreement.

    Under the agreement, 26 European countries have free movement boarders. With open boarders comes great economic gain, as well as, people looking for a better way of life. A lot of immigrants come to Europe legally. Some immigrants however are fleeing chronic poverty, corruption, and crime back in their home countries, and at times the only way to do so is illegally. It’s in the headlines everyday, boats way past their capacity capsize before they reach the shores of the Mediterranean, killing hundreds of would-be illegal immigrants.

    Many of these sea-bound people come from Africa, and the people who do manage to survive the journey find themselves in countries like Malta and Greece. Malta and Greece are countries that already have unhealthy economies, and the stress of a constant inflow of illegal immigrants dangerously strains their resources. The Economist article quoted that “From January to July [2014] alone around 100, 000 undocumented migrants crossed the Mediterranean into Italy.” This is a serious problem that has to be handled responsibly, because these are people that are in desperate need of help. Though active efforts are being made, Europe is struggling to come to a answer.

    Another critical issue is the overall fertility decline in Europe. People are having less babies, and as a result Europe is growing older and there’s less young, working people to support the elderly. A cocktail of factors go into fertility decline, but a large part may be that Europe’s values are changing. The majority of Europe is atheist. Less people are getting married, and cohabitation is the preferred choice of living.

    Birth control is widely accessible and more value is put on higher education. People, especially women, want to work and with less cultural emphasis on having children, many women put off having kids until they are much older- some simply never have any. On the graph in the image, there is hope. France, Ireland, and the Netherlands’ fertility rate is higher than it was in 1990.
    Europe simply may just be in a cultural transition. Europe is also still dealing with widespread unemployment and economic issues left over form the 2009 stock market crash. The fertility decline could be a result of such a transition, only to rise across Europe once again.

    Link to the article I referenced: http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21612152-rich-countries-must-take-more-migration-burden-europes-huddled-masses

  14. As a majority of my classmates have already harped on, there are two clear ideas presented in the images above. First we must examine the charts and graphs given. Through a social demographic lens, it is clear that many countries in the European Union are experiencing a population decline, especially in the “Slumping South.” These countries predominantly consist of Italy, Greece, and Spain. The baby boomers are elderly now, and as the chart on the left shows us, the fertility rates are decreasing, especially in this one area. If people are not having babies, then obviously the population will decrease, which is what is exactly happening. Even in other EU countries, Netherlands, Sweden, and Ireland, there is only a slight increase in population projected in 2050. Italy population is projected to decrease by 4 million people. Though only a handful of EU countries were displayed in the chart, I am sure that this is a trend occurring in almost all of the EU countries. Even if there is an increase in growth, it is only very slight. This is concerning for the EU in the long run, because the working population will be significantly lower than now. There will not be any significant growth occurring, and I suppose this will cause major problems for the union in the future, economically and socially. The EU will need to find a way to turn around this population decline. I also wanted to add that Russia is projected to lose around 36 million of their population by 2050. This is alarming, because it is clear that the entire continent is declining in population at a time where a majority of the globe is only increasing.
    One way that the EU could solve the problem of their population declining is allowing Turkey into the EU. With Turkey’s population of a little under 75 million, it will definitely boost EU population. By 2075, Turkey is projected to have over 93 million people with the proportion of the elderly being around 27.7% of the entire population. This guarantees that Turkey will be booming with a younger, working class of people. Also allowing Turkey in to the EU will help population increases in other EU countries due to the free movement of people.
    However, there are unspoken issues with identity that has prevented Turkey from joining. Many speculate there is serious contention between Muslims and Christians in Europe, since Europe is predominantly a Christian continent. If Turkey does join the EU as a predominantly Muslim country, this will change the perception of identity in Europe. And though I spoke of Turkey’s large population being a good thing for the EU, many Europeans see it in a different light. With Turkey’s large population, strong economy, and geographic size, Turkey will without a doubt change the dynamic if accepted into the EU, which some Europeans are not ecstatic about. However, as the photographs show above, many of the Muslims living within EU borders already have assimilated into the culture. As a fellow classmate pointed out, many consider themselves European and though a few extremists want to harm non-Muslims and other Muslims in Europe (and everywhere else), this does not mean that all Muslims are a threat to the EU. Turkey joining the EU could only improve the union, not hurt it.

    http://www.turkstat.gov.tr/PreHaberBultenleri.do?id=15844

  15. The pictures refers to two current issues in Europe: Demographic change in age and culture.
    The median age in Europe is getting up. This means the people in Europe are getting older and older. This is caused by improved healthcare and by better access to health care. Further the fertility rate goes down, so less children are born. There are multiple reasons for this. I think the most important one is the emancipation of women. Women are more independent, they don´t have to marry and get children, they have the opportunity to work and use contraceptive.
    At the moment the population pyramid in Europe looks like an urn. But when we look at the current development the shape of the population pyramid will change into the shape of a clock in the next 30 years. This shift will especially effect the dependency ratio. The idea is the working population supports and pays for the younger and older population through taxes. The dependency rate of countries that we discussed so far in class is above 50%. France has the highest dependency rate with 57,4%. This means that 54, 4% depend on the rest. This is a very high number and I don´t think that the current system can stay stable with this development. As the population gets older, Europe needs a new system in order to keep the dependent population supported. When the dependency rate goes further up, it gets impossible for the working population to carry the whole financial load. But cutting pensions, money for education and family allowance can´t be the solution to this problem. One possibility would be to raise the age of retirement. Because people live longer, they also have to get their pension longer and because of healthcare could work longer. Further the governments have to make it more attractive to get children. Sometimes it seems like women have to choose between children and work. I order to raise fertility rates there has to be a better supporting system.
    The second big topic the pictures refers to is culture, migration and diversity in Europe. Migration is a hot topic. When we look at European integration and the attempt to create common laws and regulations, the EU members can´t agree when it comes to migration laws and regulations. Every country has its own laws to handle migration. Also the idea of citizenship and who gets it differs from country to country. For example is the citizenship in France is tied to the land. When you are born within the French territory, you are French.
    Another hot topic is the integration of people with another religion or culture. As we can see in the picture diversity in Europe is raising. But many countries have problems with integrating this diversity and form a new European identity. Most of the people within the EU are Christians (at least on the paper). In the past we could see the passing of laws in several countries, which discriminate and exclude especially muslims, like the prohibition of wearing a headscarf in public institutions or a Burka in public.

  16. European Demographics
    Blog 2
    Ivonne Nunez

    These imagines depict an ethnically diverse Britain and the imbalance in demography as an ageing Europe approaches the next two decades. To analyze these two major changes reshaping the demographics of the European Union, one can start by looking at the thirty year Post-World War II baby boom and the immigration patterns in Europe threatening the political and socioeconomic stability of this super-state.

    The top left imagine which serves as an example of the cultural and ethnic clashes happening within the EU due to immigration inflows from Africa, Asia and other parts of Europe. The children shown, represent a newly integrated Waterhead Academy in Northern Ireland. An integration of two polar opposite schools, one predominantly white and the other Pakistani. This idea of bringing the elements of religion, race, and cultural traditions together, is an effort made in hopes of giving a new face to the British education system and perhaps Britain itself.

    Now, the key question is, how will the EU handle immigration and maintain socioeconomic stability? For citizens and immigrants to be able to thrive within a society that is continuing to evolve, they must feel a sense of belonging, not to a neighborhood, a church, a workplace where one race accounts for the majority, or a segregated school, but to a nation united as one. But, this cannot be achieved when race is still the cause of segregation like in Northern Ireland, where this separatism in society has had an evident impact on the local economy where slumping house prices, and some of the lowest wages in the country prevent a road to recovery.

    The top right image demonstrates loyalty to Britain and above all that sense of belonging. This young boy holds the British flag up high and with pride. It shows how nationalism has no color, religion, or social class. France is an example of a country that sees past the diversity in ethnicities and focuses on unifying their nation.

    The current demographics of Europe are represented in the final three images. Even today, the remnants of post-communism, war, and destruction are still seen in many countries of the EU. The tremendous decline in fertility rates that lie below replacement, along with the aging baby boomers, forecast a strain on the EU countries where governments and economies will not be able to sustain this large economically inactive population.

    While the baby boom that lasted from 1945 to 1975 came along with economic growth for many parts of Europe, some post-communist countries did not take the same path. Under communism, industrial jobs offered higher wages for those with larger families, and even at times child care services. This made the option of having a family while working much easier. After the demolition of communism in Europe, economic instability would change the dynamics of families in these post-communist nations (The Economist).

    Currently, low fertility rates in parts of Europe have also been linked to women wanting less kids. For example, in Germany which has a total fertility rate of 1.43, over a quarter of women do not have children. Italian women also have far less children then women in France and Sweden (The Economist). France and Sweden have among the highest fertility rates in the EU. This is in part to pro-natal policies implemented in these two countries. In France, immigration is believed to be a high contributor as well.

    Sources:
    The Economist. “Suddenly, the old looks younger.” http://www.economist.com/node/9334869
    Prospect. “A very British school.” http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/features/waterhead-academy-oldham-integration-david-goodhart

  17. The pictures above show different flags being supported by Europe’s people while also demonstrating religious tolerance. In the top right picture of the young boy and the woman with the hijab on, it appears that they are strongly supporting the nationality of being British. It is promoting equality that those that are moving in are becoming quite attached to their new nations. In France, nationalism is everything. French is the official language and they are very hesitant about accepting other languages because they do not want it to take away from the idealism of France and their culture. However, like discussed in class it is still extremely controversial when it comes to the subject about secularism. Secularism for example in France is very different than in the U.S.

    France uses the term laicite to define the secular nation of France. They promote religious tolerance as well as privacy. The picture of the children in schools with head wraps on is a huge step for the EU and religious equality because it is accepting other cultures into an environment where there is religious diversity as well as merging different ethnicities together and allowing them to be educated under the same roof. They will allow people to wear their hijabs into governmental buildings but if they chose to work there they will be asked to refrain from wearing them and keep their religion to themselves. Some people who are immigrating into the land have a huge problem with that because they are proud of their religion but at the same time they chose that nation to move into so they have to follow the rules that have already been set. It is a tricky situation that continues to be looked at but it definitely requires give and take from both sides.

    The charts in the picture demonstrate the demographics in Europe and how population is decreasing due to people having fewer children because women are working more outside of the home due to the iron curtain scenario and since literacy has been increased so has health for children. Parents do not have to give birth to as many children because death rates have gone down so the fear of losing a child at a young age has significantly decreased. Again, with fewer babies there are less people because the adults are getting older and moving into the elderly category and dying off and new births are not keeping up with the deaths causing the population to decrease. There are positives and negatives about having a smaller population in the EU. The positive is that it is easier to control but the negative is that it brings in less money and revenue because of the decrease in taxes that are being collected. All of the pictures demonstrate on going change in the EU and the continuation of promoting acceptance of integration of immigrants from other countries while at the same time setting boundaries. There is still room for more change but there are very different views as to whether religious tolerance should be increased or decreased.

    Jillian Akers

  18. The photo of the school children in the top left demonstrates the ethnocultural diversity that is developing in Europe. Clothed in “Western” style attire without regards to gender, distinctions between them are limited. Removing cultural distinctions of dress likely serves the function of providing an increased sense of unity between the children (students?) The exceptions, of course, are the Hijabs adorned by the young Muslim women in the photograph. Hence, we may deduce that the uniforms go as far as to strip cultural influences in attire with the exception of spiritually-related garments. The uniforms are thus fulfilling the mission of unifying a diverse body of young people, without striping any of their religious symbols, which are considered to be more of a controversial issue.

    The image on the top right is an interesting depiction of the compatibility of Islam and patriotism (to a non-Muslim state.) The stark differences between the two characters depicted all obvious, and likely the reason the photographer snapped the shot. The women, presumably the child’s mother, wearing the conservative Burqa, is ostensibly a traditionalist (evidenced by her head-wear.) Her child, contrarily, is adorned with “Western” style clothing, completed by a backwards-situated denim cap (more American than British.) Waving the Union Jack, the child is displaying one of the most important national symbols of any state in a flag. Too young to be an avowed British patriot, the flag he is holding is being held at the behest, or with at least the acceptance of the Muslim parent, alluding to the compatibility of Islam and European democracy.

    While on the topic of the flag as a symbol of national pride, I would like to explore the picture on the bottom left of the elderly woman draped in the flag of the European Union. As an important symbol of cultural pride, flags are especially important in expressing one’s nationality, patriotism, or allegiance to a state, nation, or other institution. The European Union’s adoption of a flag in 1993 fulfilled the basic need of unifying the member states in the sense of a collective body. The woman’s adornment of the flag implies that her allegiance is not entirely to her country, but to the European Union as a whole.

    The flag of the E.U is superimposed on the population pyramid graph that demonstrates the age stratification for the E.U as a whole. It mirrors, by-in-large, many of the individual countries of the E.U, as well as most developed nations. Shown in the “pyramid” is the post-war “baby boomer” bump, and the tapering off for younger ages as a result of the lower TFR. As time goes on, the bump will shift upwards, leading to an unfavorable dependency ratio.

    Finally, the last image (the demographic graph) demonstrates the effects of the stratification of the population pyramid. The population of younger people will drop steadily over time, especially in Spain and Italy. The graph on the right of the image shows that populations will drop in most European nations between 2003-2050. One problematic function of projection graphs is that they fail to consider the human response to crises in demographics. Conversely, such projections quantitatively reveal that the a problem will exist, so that the necessity of a response may become apparent.

  19. All of these images pertain to the European Union. The images included in the this weeks blog post foreshadow the biggest question marks, and in some cases, challenges that European Union will face in the short to intermediate future. In these few images, you have the topics of immigration, citizenship and an aging population. What began as a small strictly economic union consisting of just six members (Belgium, Luxemburg, The Netherlands, France, West Germany, and Italy) , now encompasses 28 member states, and a whole host of economic, social , judicial, and even foreign affair matters. The European Union must learn to cope with/solve of these question marks discussed below.

    The left image has captured international news with the bottom left image pertaining to idea of Ukraine joining the European Union, and the one of directly above it, dire economic forecasts for parts of Europe. The idea of Ukraine of becoming more open to the West has caused Russia to not only annex Crimea, but has begun to provide military aide and troops to Ukrainian separatists. The civil war in Ukraine poses the question to the European Union, if a military conflict is being conducted with a neighboring non-EU member state, how must it respond? How do a supranational group of countries create a foreign policy objective to handles such a threat? So far economic sanctions have been as far as the EU has been willing to go, but Germany and France have played critical roles in the peace making process.

    The middle-left image and bottom right image pertain to an aging European Union population. For instance, in the graphic on the bottom right the mean population group would appear to be in the 40-50 year old range, Considering the fact within twenty years, those in this age group could be retired, and more dependent on other to help fund the social welfare programs of Europe. The problem is similar to that of Social Security in the United States, where eventually more people will take from the Social Security fund than contributing to it. This paints a potential problem in the future, The middle left graphic further points out this problem, where it points to low forecasted number of youth populations in several southern EU member states coupled with low fertility rates across a number of other states. Low fertility rates of <2 means that the population is no being replaced to allow any decent population growth.

    The top two images included deal with the idea of citizenship and immigration. Immigration is a growing problem in several countries throughout the EU, but most notably in France. France garnered international press, when they implemented a ban on burqas. France has always wanted to maintain secularism, and doesn’t even record ethnicity in their census. The problem in some these EU member states is that immigrant numbers is undercounted so it may be hard to grasp the changing demographics, but they are changing. Take the top right image, for example, one does not immediately picture a British woman holding her child to be of Middle Eastern descent. Several EU members had a blood as a delineator of citizenship, but the EU courts have disallowed that qualification. So now, similar to the US, people can gain citizenship by birth within the borders of the country. Where is the problem? No countries must find a definition of what it means to be French, German, Italian, etc that is inclusive of these new demographics.

    The EU must find a way to handle these issues or these coming decades could be some of their most challenging.

  20. The European Union has several issues that it has to cope with over the coming decades. These photos highlight at least a couple of these potential demographic problems. We see in the images an obvious blending of cultures. We also see the complications of an aging population coupled with declining population growth by way of falling fertility rates.
    The first issue that is apparent is the cultural diversity. This is never an easy transition to make. Europe has traditionally been a fairly homogenous society with small minorities who were forced to adjust to get by. Now that some of these minorities are growing we are starting to see some conflict arise. The member nations of the European Union can address the changing social makeup of their populations in a few different ways. The us versus them scenario can look like it has in the United States with its decades of relations between African Americans, Caucasian Americans and Latin Americans that has often been characterized by periods of violence and constant inequality. Or it could unfortunately take a form more a kin to Aryan and Jew relations in Nazi Germany. I am not suggesting that Europe could go down the path of atrocities and mass murder of the Holocaust. I do however find it conceivable that relations could evolve to resemble the pre-holocaust conditions for Jews. This era saw an alienation of the Jew’s social and economic lives. This is possible especially in light of recent events. Perhaps the members of the European Union will follow their own path that has yet to be seen in history, one of peaceful intermingling of cultures with equality and acceptance at the forefront. While the world sits back to observe what will transpire in Europe with regards to the ever growing diversity of their cultural make up it can only be speculated how the issue will be complicated by the rise of radical Islam and continued immigration growth.
    The other contemporary issue that the European Union is confronting is that of population stability as a whole. As we can see from the pictures and have discussed in class the European Union has reached the fourth stage of demographic transition. This stage has low birth rates and low death rates. This is great for the population as it has leveled off and growth is not exponential as it is in say China of India. This population stability does present its own challenges. Take for instance the image of the population pyramid. This shows a declining group of young people with a much larger group of adults. It also shows a large number of elderly. Lowering death rates mean that people are living longer. This will make things difficult on the healthcare and social security systems of the member nations as more people are drawing on these resources as they age and more people moving into that bracket as the years go by. Populations in these countries can be bolstered by growing immigration which has its own problems as I have already discussed above.

    Philip Gardner

  21. I think that these pictures represent the diversity of the EU. In the upper left picture the children that are in what appears to be school uniforms depicts the vast diversity of several different categories. The group has gender diversity, ethnic diversity, and I would also they have both religious and language diversity. All of these variables in a group of school age children is a direct reflection of how diverse and mingled these groups are today, and will be even more so in the future. The upper right picture depicts claiming a national identity. The woman and child in the foreground of the picture are likely not from Britain, however, they claim Britain as their home country and they likely identify as being British. When someone from outside of a country comes in and begins identify themselves as being a part of the new country, that act strengthens the country through a bond of its people. The middle left picture is a forecasting of the future for many European countries if they continue the trend they are following. Britain and the Netherlands population of people in their early twenties closely resembles each other. While other countries like Spain and Italy are looking at a potential decline. I think that this has to do with employment. That is the age when many people find a job and make it a career. I think that the early working age population is looking outside their home countries to find better working opportunities. Whereas Britain has an economy that lends towards higher rates of employment for people in those age groups. France appears to be stuck in a place where they appear to be in a place to maintain the population on a steady plain. The diagram on the lower right is a representation of the growing age of the EU as a whole. Based on this diagram, age the large middle age grow older, they will be dependent on a smaller group of working age people. As the economy changes and it becomes harder to make ends meet, the amount of children people have decreases, causing a lowering of the future working force. This diagram does show what looks to be a leveling of the growing youth which should stabilize the workforce in the future. Lastly, the lower left picture depicts the growing age of the EU. By wrapping herself in an EU flag, I see her as associating herself as being a part of the EU and claiming the EU as here national identity instead of her home country. I see this as a sign that the older population identifies more with the EU as a whole, where the younger population is possibly more prone to identifying with a specific country as their national origin. Based on this outlook, the younger population is not as likely to maintain the EU in the future and will let it fracture in order to create individual identities for the nations of the EU. If this happens, it could be disastrous for many countries that rely on the stability of the EU as a whole.

  22. Andrew Dunivan
    Blog Post 2

    With the amount of expansion that the European Union has seen, it can now be characterized by its diversity. The physical boundaries of Europe themselves are somewhat ambiguous, and with nations such as Turkey seeking accession into the EU the political borders could spread even further. Even more of these issues arise when non-European nations with strong ties to Europe, such as Israel or Libya, interact with Europe. Immigration, both legal and illegal, is extremely important to Europe right now because of low natural population growth rates. With an aging population and immigration on the rise, the demographics of many European countries are going to be effected serious change in the near future.
    The image in the top left shows a group of school-aged children. All of them appear to be of non-European ethnicities, and yet they seem to be at some prestigious European academy. The influx of immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East has added an immense number of young people into the mix of European society, creating much more diversity. This picture definitely shows this effect among children in school. To its right, highlighting immigration and the diversity it brings even more, is a photo of a Muslim woman and her child, proudly displaying the British flag. With different ethnicities immigrating into European nations also come different cultures and religions. Islam in Europe is still a small minority but – especially if Turkey enters the EU – it could become a major facet of a diverse European society.
    These immigration changes are even more important given the declining birth rate in Europe and its aging population. The photograph of the old woman wrapped in the flag of the EU is very touching. She was probably around before the European Union even existed, and has lived to see it become the most successful international organization in the world. However, the fact remains that she, like a majority of Europe’s current population, is old. The chart on the bottom right shows the population of Europe by gender and age, and there is a clear majority of the population above the age of forty. As this generation gets older and older, more and more stress will be placed on European governments.
    This problem is brought to an extreme in southern Europe, as shown in the small graph on the left. The populations of young people aged twenty to twenty four is projected to plummet rapidly in the next fifty years, to almost half its number at year 2000, in both Italy and Spain. This is due to both a decrease in birth rate throughout Europe, as well as increased emigration from those countries. Interestingly, illegal immigration is a major problem in both of those countries, and immigrants may be able to fill the void left by the projected loss of population.
    The bottom line is that Europe faces big changes in the coming future. The aging and eventual death of the generation that created the EU, increased immigration from outside of Europe, and the spreading of new ethnicities, cultures, and religions throughout Europe are all working together to create a new, different, and far more diverse Europe than ever before.

  23. (Posted accidentally on the wrong one first time…)

    The EU has grown in terms of member countries, but parts of it (some members) are smaller than the others—-some of which are getting smaller still. Population in the EU is important just as it is in the US. The younger generations need to produce enough capital and services to take care of the elder generation which can’t do so for itself (or at least as well) . The problem of finding this balance is hard though, and it’s made harder still as technology and medicine increase the lifespan of the population, but not necessarily the vitality it takes to continue being part of the work force. Right now there may be too few young people to support the older generation. Solutions to this are two-fold. Population needs to increase. One way is by sex, but that can take a while to get a mature workforce. The other way is immigration. Immigrants from outside the EU which move into and then work inside of it are a newer solution. There are problems with this as well though. Countries such as the UK which may not have as dire need of a workforce increase as Greece or Italy don’t altogether appreciate an influx of immigrants lured towards the more (relatively) successful countries such as Germany and the UK. Once in the EU, they can move around anywhere without border controls. This results in some countries becoming more integrated into the concept of ‘Europe’ and some such as the UK preferring to tout their ‘Empire’-esque rhetoric as a great sovereign nation. Even some of the immigrants who make it to the UK and make a life for themselves there may pick up this national pride, and be defensive of the life and success they worked hard to achieve (or that they want their children to achieve). The result is a tension between countries. Some accept the loss of their former identities in exchange of being only part of a greater whole. Some don’t see that as possible, happening, or any sort of eventuality of which they want to be part. Some in fact attempt to hold onto power by appealing to the citizens who ate their ‘independence’ rhetoric by convincing them that if power is given to the current occupants yet again, they will most certainly allow their proud citizens to vote for a once again independent country (*coughs-UK-coughs*). It would be rather ironic if the most reluctant member of the EU tried to withdraw from the very thing it was forced to admit (not so long ago) was a great and economically profitable idea. It’s important to remember though that while people are stirred up, it’s only when they’re unhappy (economically, medically, etc.) that they want change. If I was starving, without a job, and forced to beg on the streets… I’d likely blame someone for it as well, and perhaps I’d be right. Perhaps someone is to blame for lack of jobs and austerity, but is it better to help your citizen point a finger, or work with your fellow EU members to get them jobs and a stable life where they can support not only you but your EU friends as well?

  24. The pictures refer to the demographic changes in Europe due to age and culture. People in Europe are getting older and older. On the one hand health care is getting better and this allows people to live longer. But also the fertility rate in Europe goes down, so less children are born. This leads to changes in the population. At the moment the population pyramid of Europe looks like an urn. But when we look at the current development the shape of the urn will slowly change into the shape of a clock. This will affects Europe especially because of the dependency ratio. The idea is that the working population pays for those people in society who can´t care for themselves, like retired or unemployed people. In countries we talked about in class like Germany, Italy, France or Greece the dependency rate is already over 50%. This means that over 50% depends on the rest.
    As the population gets older the countries in Europe has to develop a new system in order to keep the dependent population supported. Because people are getting older, but still retire at about the same age. As the dependency rate goes up the working population can´t carry the whole financial load. But cutting pensions or unemployment money can´t be the solution to this problem, either it can´t be raising taxes.
    The first two pictures deal with migration and integration. So far the EU has no common law that deals with migration. For example in France and Greece citizenship is given through birth and main place of residence within the territory. Other countries have other regulations. It is quite hard for the European Union to find a common ground, because all the countries have different ideas of migration and citizenship and nobody wants to make a compromise in this topic.
    Another big and sensitive topic at the moment is integration. There is a change of the proportions of the different religions caused by migration in society. As historically, Europe is a Christian club and now the number of Muslims are raising many people are afraid. I think this also partially causes the rise of the right wing and populist parties all over Europe.
    In some countries there are already laws against Muslims like in France, Belgium, Germany and Austria. In France and Belgium there is no direct law against Muslims. But it is forbidden to wear cloths which cover the face at public places. That means that Muslims are not allowed to wear a Burka at public places. In Hessen/Germany it is forbidden to wear a Burka as a public servant. I think this laws leads to an exclusion of the Burka wearing Muslim women from society. In February 2015 Austria passed a law that forbids a lasting international financing of Islamic organisations. The goal of this law is to stop the financial support of terrorist or extremist groups from abroad. I think it will rather affects normal Islamic organisations and it creates a bigger mistrust.

  25. Cody Rader
    March 15th
    The pictures perfectly demonstrate the demographic changes in Europe with the emergence of the European Union. One thing that I find striking about the images is the diversity of people within them. The image with what looks like students and the picture of the boy and his mother holding the British flag are prime examples of this. Many of the children, some of which are in hijabs, appear to be ethnically Arab or Indian. Moreover showing this diversity shows that Europe does not prescribe to the stereotype of being predominantly white and shows the truly diverse nature of the continent and of the EU. It also shows that immigration is occurring, and as seen in recent years has been a hot key argument within the EU and national governments.
    This diversity is also important to point out with Turkey seeking accession to the EU. Turkey a large and diverse, largely Muslim, population and would further diversify Europe. However with Turkey seeking to join the EU and there being a massive debate on immigration policy, it is likely that problems will emerge.
    The pictures of the graphs also show a very interesting trend in the EU. As the “Slumping South” graph shows slow growth and dip in population in reference to those between the ages of 20-24. This is becoming the dominant trend in Europe as couples are having fewer children and some choosing not to have children, thus helping to create a smaller working class to support the larger aging and retiring class throughout Europe. While some of the southern European nations have high unemployment, many of the nations are facing labor shortages. These labor shortages mean that Europe has to allow more migrant workers and further perpetuates the immigration debates. As the final graph shows there is a considerable age balloon, 35-55, in which there are nearly twice as many middle aged citizens as younger citizens. With fewer younger citizens to replace them as the older generations retire it seems a crisis is looming. But it could be averted with the ascension of Turkey into the EU, due to its large labor pool that would then be free to move across Europe to ease these burdens and fill positions in the labor market. Moreover these two graphs show the trend of many modern nations, such as the US and Japan, and not just Europe. As seen not just in Europe but in many other nations, people are having fewer children and therefor there are larger populations of middle aged individuals than there are younger individuals to replace them at the age of retirement or to support welfare. It is important to note though that these demographics are not characteristic of all of the states as some of the Balkan states have larger young populations more reminiscent of developing countries.
    The picture of the older woman wrapped in the European flag also demonstrates a powerful point, the growing sense of European-nes. With the success of the Euro and EU itself, there is a growing movement, especially with the middle-aged and older generations, to focus more on their identity as European first rather than French or British or Croatian first. This movement is key to the success of the EU which needs the support of Europeans to succeed and help keep the peace, and since national identity is largely being downplayed in favor of being European, there is much less ethnic conflict with key exceptions with Muslim and Turkish populations.

  26. These five pictures demonstrate some of the issues that have become apparent in recent years in the European Union and will continue to be an issue in coming years.
    The first picture on the top left is of Pakistani children who attend a school with white children in England. It seems evident to me that allowing youth of different ethnicities and cultures to attend school together is a very good way to promote cultural integration. Children who attend school together and form cross-cultural friendships will most likely grow into adults who understand the need for cooperation between cultural groups. Continuing with a similar theme, the picture of the Muslim boy and the woman holding him (presumably his mother) demonstrates the increased religious and cultural diversity in the UK and other European countries, and the fact that despite the prevalence of Islamophobia in Europe most Muslims have feelings of loyalty to the European countries they live in. For example, a study by the Open Society Institute in 2009 found that 94% of Muslims born in the UK consider themselves to be British rather than identifying with the country of their parents’ birth.
    I find it interesting that the picture of the old woman wrapping herself in the EU flag has Ukrainian flags in the background. Her country doesn’t belong to the EU yet, but she embraces the ideals it represents and the benefits it can offer. According to an article of by the European Institute Ukraine has an emerging middle class which desires admittance to the EU over a relationship with Russia. Ukraine and the EU ratified an association agreement in 2013, but it will be interesting to see what the road to Ukraine’s membership in the EU holds.
    The age distribution graph on the bottom right shows that a large percent of the population is between the ages of 40 and 54. Low fertility rates are contributing to an aging population. The crude birth rate in Europe has been dropping for over two hundred years. The secularization of European society has allowed the widespread use of birth control, and removed the cultural pressure for young adults to get married and have children. Many young adults choose to focus on starting a career rather than starting a family. In Italy, for example, the lack of sufficient childcare means women must choose between having a job and having children— it would be very difficult to try to have both. As a consequence, fewer and fewer Italian women are having children.
    The graph labeled “The Slumping South” shows that the south of Europe, specifically Spain and Italy, have much older populations, and that the overall age of the population can be linked to the total fertility rate. Italy has very good healthcare which contributes to a high life expectancy. The number of elderly people in these countries, and therefore the dependency ratio, is expected to increase in the coming years, which will place strain on the economy and on the personal finances of the population, as the workforce will be smaller, yet be required to support more people.

    Sources:
    http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/features/waterhead-academy-oldham-integration-david-goodhart
    http://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/cornerstone/muslim-minorities-in-europe/responses/despite-the-odds-muslims-continue-to-make-progress-in-europe
    http://www.europeaninstitute.org/index.php/238-european-affairs/ea-october2-2014/1943-special-section-perspectives-on-ukraine-crisis-and-the-road-ahead
    http://www.pewglobal.org/2014/01/30/attitudes-about-aging-a-global-perspective/
    http://www.thelocal.it/20140528/italys-birth-rate-hits-record-low
    http://projectm-online.com/global-agenda/demographics/ciao-bambini

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