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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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Europe to Africa: If We Pay, Will You Stay?

The European Union has set its sights on a new migration policy--paying African governments to alleviate the motivation for people to leave Africa and head to Europe. Reuters reports that:
The European Union launched a fund for Africa on Thursday with an initial $2 billion to combat the poverty and conflict driving migration to Europe, but African leaders said more fundamental economic change was needed.

With Europeans' attention now gripped by over half a million Syrians and others whose arrival has plunged the EU into crisis, memories have faded of the drowned Africans whose deaths in April prompted the Malta summit. However, EU officials say that African migration presents the greater long-term concern.

Among the biggest concerns in both Europe and Africa is the extent to which climate change, turning vast areas around the Sahara into desert, may set large sections of Africa's fast-growing billion-plus population on the move, both within the continent and north across the Mediterranean.
And, speaking of Syrians heading north, Sweden has just announced border checks in an attempt to slow down the influx of migrants coming to them. BBC News reports that:
Sweden has brought in temporary border checks to control the flow of migrants into the country. It said it took the step because a surge in new arrivals had resulted in a threat to public order.
Tensions in the EU have been rising because of the pressures faced by those countries where most migrants initially arrive, particularly Greece, Italy and Hungary. Many then head to Germany or Sweden - the two nations regarded as the most welcoming to refugees - to claim asylum. Nearly 200,000 migrants are expected to arrive in Sweden this year, more per head of population than any other EU nation.
In the meantime, it seems unlikely that the meetings about to start in Vienna to figure out how to cope with the Syrian mess will yield anything substantial. The face of Syria is changing, albeit in a different way than the face of Europe. 

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