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Policy Briefs provide a synthesis of key research findings by leading European experts on policy-relevant population issues.
The Pitfalls of a European Migration Policy
A European migration policy is hampered by structural and institutional limits on cooperation between the Member States and between different policy fields at the European level. The divisive issues of today’s migration debate are fears of alleged “welfare shopping”, mixed flows of migration and the secondary movement of migrants, which are all situated in grey areas between the current institutional baskets. Policies should strengthen inter-institutional and cross-sectional cooperation, build public confidence, make better use of migrants’ skills and invest in migrants’ children.
The Two Sides of the Same Coin
Europeans are increasingly mobile in terms of commuting and travelling, whereas rates of permanent change in residence across borders are scarce. Relocation rates within countries are stable or are even going down / Experiences of mobility are very heterogeneous and circumstances that lead people to be mobile change over the life course / Policies should support the development of “skills for mobility”, particularly at younger ages, but older people should also not be ignored / Policies should promote mobility that adjusts to personal situations and pre- vents negative consequences at the individual and social level.
Boosting Children’s Lifetime Chances in Times of Diverse Family Forms
The impact of family dissolution on children varies considerably and lasting effects persist for only a minority / To prevent negative consequences of family dissolution on children’s develop- ment, policies should prevent economic downward mobility and provide sup- port to children and parents to adapt to new family dynamics and forms / Life chances of children depend more strongly on the socio-economic back- ground of their parents than on the family form they are living in. • Mitigating the effect of parental socio-economic background on children is one of the major challenges for family policies.
Failure to Launch
Young individuals suffer disproportionally from the crisis, especially in terms of high unemployment and economic uncertainty, which affect their ability to start an independent life / A delayed transition to adulthood has negative effects on economic and demo- graphic outcomes later in life, including fertility levels / Youth exposed to the economic crisis need immediate support and relief in order to avoid becoming a “lost” generation / Policies need to support new initiatives such as the Youth Guarantee, and should promote youth mobility among and across countries
Demographic change is a shaper of both security risks and security capacities. / Recruitment requirements will remain at a high level due to the complexity of international military missions and new technology, while population ageing will make it increasingly difficult to recruit enough qualified personnel./ Policies focusing on the improvement of employment conditions and the expansion of the recruitable population seem to be most promising. / An open exchange about best practices among European countries could help identify the most effective combination of policies.
Riding the Population Wave
Resistance against an increase in the retirement age is often based on myths that do not stand up to scientific evidence. / The economic burden of population ageing is not a demographic destiny, but depends on the productivity of tomorrow’s workforce. / Policies should promote information campaigns, life-long learning activities, and measures to support a comprehensive work-education-life balance.
Population on the Move
Restrictive immigration policies are ineffective in reducing migration inflows./ Efficient migration policies include quotas that attract foreigners with specific skills and knowledge, as well as support for the social inclusion of migrants and their families. / Policies should promote transnational contacts and opportunities for civic engagement to encourage target migrants. / Specific educational measures are needed, not only as an instrument for the inclusion of children of immigrants, but also for the promotion of social cohesion.
Mission not accomplished?
European countries have redoubled their efforts to support families. However, divergent birth rate trends suggest that no “magic formula” has been found. / A common characteristic among countries with stable or even increasing birth rates is a high degree of female labour force participation. / More could be done to slow down the “Rush-hour of Life”, the period when starting a family overlaps with career development. / Policies might include on-the-job training programmes following parental leave to facilitate the return to the labour market.
Europe's Citizens should have a Choice
Even a new baby-boom and high migration cannot prevent Europe from population ageing over the next decades. / Population ageing and shrinking labour force will affect the productivity of the economy if no further reforms are undertaken. / These reforms should include a redistribution of work over the life-course which will also require a new system of social protection.
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