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Old Europe, new challenges

Philippe Durance (Associate Researcher, Conservatoire national des arts et métiers (CNAM), Paris, France)
Michel Godet (Professor, Conservatoire national des arts et métiers (CNAM), Paris, France)


ISSN: 1463-6689

Article publication date: 23 October 2007




The paper aims to query the value of strategies implemented, notably in France, and to demonstrate the largely ignored link between demographics and economics.


The paper achieves its objective by comparing statistics of European Union (EU) members and competitors to reveal that traditional views on economics and social policy may no longer apply.


The paper finds that the Old Europe stagnated due to political lack of will, but a renewed Europe has begun. The Euro as scapegoat for poor performance is dismissed. Productivity figures show how foreign trade and debt can be efficiently managed. Overall, trade must be encouraged worldwide. Low‐wage countries will inevitably compete and cannot ethically be ignored. The subsidy debate heats up as the EU agricultural policy ends and the USA extends Farm Aid. Regardless, EU members must focus on sustainable development. The low birthrate in the Old Europe means social policy should be reformed to encourage families to have children and allow selective immigration to meet labour needs. The implication is that France – Europe in general – must review the EU mission and structure. The French president seems to be headed in this direction. In future research, demographics must be monitored to make social and economic plans for the working lives of our youth and retirement of our seniors.


This paper will interest economists, politicians and policy‐makers, especially those unaware of the role of demographics in productivity and planning.



Durance, P. and Godet, M. (2007), "Old Europe, new challenges", Foresight, Vol. 9 No. 6, pp. 3-10.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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