This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Monday, September 7, 2015

Can Europe's Migrant Mess Get Messier? You Bet!

The surge of migrants into Europe has been constantly in the news, as well it should be. European countries, along with the US, have played a huge hand in creating the stresses generating the flow out of the Middle East and Africa. The NYTimes has a detailed summary of recent events:
Thousands of migrants continue to flow through the Balkans toward Hungary every day, rapidly approaching its southern border with Serbia, government officials said. Two Greek ferries carrying more than 4,000 migrants were scheduled to land Sunday in Athens, a first stop on the migrant trail through the Balkans.
On Sunday, Pope Francis called upon Catholic parishes and religious communities to take in refugees. And Germany has called for a quota system to distribute the migrant population evenly throughout Europe. 
But the European Union remains deeply divided over what should be done, a debate that has strained relations and threatened the 28-nation bloc’s proud policy of open borders.
In the midst of all this, it turns out that not all migrants heading out of Serbia towards Germany are fleeing the Middle East or Africa. Today the Economist reported that Serbians are themselves part of the migrant flow.
Aleksandar Vucic, Serbia’s prime minister, trumpets his country’s kindness to those in transit; he can afford to be generous, because none want to stay in hard-up Serbia. A bigger problem is that 42% of those applying for asylum in Germany are from the southern ex-Yugoslav states and Albania. Almost all of them are economic migrants, fleeing poverty, not the persecution their countries’ temporary guests have escaped.
As you can see in the map below, the flow of refugee migrants is north from Greece, through Macedonia, and then through Serbia towards Hungary, then Austria and Germany. In Serbia a lot of people are joining the growing group, and this is getting messier by the day.

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