A demographic catastrophe is staring Europe in its face and yet Europeans, hamstrung by the liberal ideals that they have for so long championed, are failing to do anything about it. There are two broad factors to this demographic catastrophe-
- Ageing of Europe
2. De-Christianization of Europe
The first factor covers falling fertility rates across Europe, resulting in an inversion of the demographic pyramid. The second factor covers European reliance on immigration to make up for its demographic losses, resulting in de-Europeanization and increasing and apparent Islamization of Europe.
Not for no reason did Gaddafi once comment, ‘We have 50 million Muslims in Europe. There are signs that Allah will grant Islam victory in Europe—without swords, without guns, without conquest—will turn it into a Muslim continent within a few decades’.
- Ageing of Europe
Data shows that Europe’s population in 1950 was around 550 million. From that level, it is expected to rise to around 745 million in 2020, before the effects of ageing and falling fertility rate start showing. By the year 2100, Europe’s population is expected to dwindle to 645 million. The total fertility rate of European Union was 1.58 children per woman. This is way below the natural replacement rate of 2.1.
Within EU, France has the highest TFR of 1.99, while Russia stands at 1.7, Portugal at 1.5, Germany at 1.39, United Kingdom at 1.83 and so on. The median age of Europe was 37.7 in 2003. In absence of natural replacement, it is expected to rise to 52.3 by 2050. In 2010, young people (0-14 years old) constituted 15.6% of EU’s population, as against Older people (aged 65+), who made up 18.9%.
In the EU, there were 4 working age people for every 1 person above 65 years in 2015; this is expected to reduce to 2 working age people for every one retiree by 2050. Demographic theories postulate that no society has ever been able to overcome insurmountable demographic odds, when Total Fertility rates drop below 1.5.
Sample this, 30% of young German women don’t want to have babies. 48% of German men under 40 do not think children are needed for a happy life. Clearly, Europe is caught up in a ‘Low Fertility Trap’ and is unwilling to extricate itself from the mess it finds itself in.
Ageing Europe would mean a more non-productive Europe as working age population collapses.
This in turn would decimate Europe’s economic might. One way to counter that is to encourage immigration. Unwittingly, this is a path that most European nations have chosen. It is like choosing the proverbial Devil when faced with the deep sea.
- De-Christianization of Europe
From 1980s and perhaps even earlier, Europe started encouraging skilled and unskilled immigrants. The civil war in Syria and ISIS’s campaign in the Middle East moved Europe to tears and led by Merkel, it started welcoming immigrants in droves. As per estimates, Europe welcomed at least 700000 immigrants in 2016, twice the number in 2015. Unlike immigrants of yore, who moved to Europe in search for a better life and acculturated themselves with Europe, the new wave of immigrants came with their own social and cultural orthodoxies, viewed European life as evil and forced Europe to change its social and cultural mores to make them feel welcome. This has given rise to tensions across Europe. The growing strength of Marine Le Pen in France, AfD in Germany, Ultra-right in Scandinavia and other parts of Europe can be attributed to Europeans feeling unwelcome and unsafe in their own homes and hearths.
Muslims made up 2% of Europe’s population in 1950. By 2020, they are estimated to make up at least 6% of Europe’s population. As European fertility rates continue to flounder, it is estimated that the proportion of Christianity in European population will tumble from 75% in 2010 to 65% in 2050. At the same time, Muslims are estimated to make up at least 10% of Europe’s population by 2050. Incidentally, in a world without migration, the Muslim population of Europe would have grown to only 8% by 2050. A cursory glance at Muslims’ fertility rates (~2.1 children per woman) against the European average of 1.6 approx. shows that while European population stagnates and declines, the Muslim population of Europe will continue to grow. This is reflected in the much younger Muslim median age of 32, against the Christian median age of around 40.
France’s Muslim population is around 7-9% of its population.
18% of new babies being born across France are being given Muslim names. In Belgium, top 7 baby names were all Muslim. Whites are expected to be a minority in Birmingham by 2026. Forecasters predict that Muslims could outnumber non-Muslims in France and Western Europe by 2050. All these predictions are expected to be conservative because no one really knows what shape immigration will take. Studies indicate that second and third generations of Muslim immigrants are proving notoriously hard to integrate. This manifests itself in violence and arson as was witnessed in France’s Banlieueus in 2005. Not only this, many Muslims are susceptible to radicalization given the nature of sermons being delivered at Mosques across Europe. It is pertinent to note that France sent as many as 1700 persons to fight for the ISIS, Germany sent as many as 800, while tiny Belgium tops the chart for most persons per capita sent as ISIS fighters. Not without reason did NYT refer to Molenbeek in Belgium as the Islamic state of Molenbeek, 41% of which is Muslim. Parts of France, UK, Belgium and other European countries have been converted into No-go zones, while the governments have done nothing.
The idea of Europe, as it was earlier known, is under threat. Not from immigration or changing demographics but the unwillingness of Europeans to comprehend the ferocity of challenges they face. Politicians are asking people to get used to living with terror strikes, violent crime has become common, parts of Europe are now as unsafe as some streets in Asia and Africa. On the whole it seems, the European civilization is beating a hasty retreat.
On 10th October 732, Charles Martel defeated a Muslim army near Tours, stemming the advance of Arab armies from their base in Andalusia. In 1683, the Ottomans were decisively beaten back at Vienna and ‘ceased to be a menace to the Christian world’. It seems now the history is repeating itself except that it is the Europeans who are on the losing side.