Demographic trends in the European Union: political and strategic implications
Rasco, Clark Joseph
Yost, David S.
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This thesis analyzes adverse demographic trends in the European Union, including sub-replacement birthrates and increasing median ages. It investigates the implications of these trends for the EU's prospects for becoming a stronger and more influential actor in international affairs. Pressures arising from population trends in and near the EU could ultimately affect national and EU cohesion, governmental effectiveness, and social stability. Absent remedial measures, social programs in some EU countries will be unsustainable due to the mounting financial burden of pensions and health care for growing elderly populations. Such financial obligations hinder funding other national programs, including modernized military capabilities. Nationalism and national identity are at issue in immigrant integration and assimilation efforts. The role of population trends with regard to the growing threat of radical Islamic fundamentalism is explored. The thesis concludes with policy recommendations that might be considered to avert the looming economic, social, and security crises that may result from these demographic trends. In short, the security and financial consequences foreshadowed by the current demographic trends of an aging, economically weaker, and socially conflicted European Union could present dramatic implications for the vital national interests of the United States.
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