It is almost impossible to determine any one cause for Europe's problems-
because Europe is many countries, with different problems and different reasons for them.
The Euro can be pointed out simply because it made one country's problem everyone elses problem!
But let's look at the particular points you bring up.
The birthrates have gone down in strongly roman catholic countries; in Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania.
Britain's birthrate is rising, as is France, Italy and Spain. Germany's birthrate is dropping lower however.
Everywhere, an abrupt decline in birthrates and illegal immigration since the 2008 economic meltdown has caused a current slowdown.
The biggest problems for future retiree's is that people are living longer.
That means that even in countries with a growing birthrate, you still end up with too many old people in comparison with young people.
In that sense, one could logically take the discussion in the direction of asking- if a lifestyle allows people to be in better health and live
longer, is that necessarily best for all in the long run???
(we're so used to assuming it is the proof of a successful society, that is a little
troubling to consider!)
So a problem with social security for retirees in the future IS foreseen.
Let's see if that can be a result of the EU countries being older in general?
Let's compare the situation of a younger nation- the US!
Apparently we had the Boomer generation, which was huge, then the birthrates dropped.
"Currently, the Social Security Board of Trustees projects program cost to rise by 2035 so that taxes will be enough to pay for only 75 percent
of scheduled benefits. This increase in cost results from population aging, not because we are living longer, but because birth rates dropped from
three to two children per woman."
- Chief Actuary of the Social Security Administration. (www.ssa.gov...
It isn't just about how many they are, but how they consume...
In 1962, we were laying down the foundations of prosperity. About 32 cents of every federal dollar, excluding interest payments, was spent on
investments, only 14 percent on entitlements. In the mid-70s the lines crossed. Today we spend less than 15 cents on investment and 46 cents on
entitlements. And it gets worse. By 2030, when the last of us boomers have surged onto the Social Security rolls, entitlements will consume 61 cents
of every federal dollar, starving our already neglected investment and leaving us, in the words of the study, with “a less-skilled work force, lower
rates of job creation, and an infrastructure unfit for a 21st-century economy.”
I don't know. I am not convinced yet that the social security problem that looms in our future is so much a product of Europeans not making enough
babies and being old stagnant fogies! Because the US is in the same spot and they are young.
I haven't seen the kinds of employment problems you are describing, but then I don't know what country you are talking about. In the European
country I am in, there is more than enough french kids for manual labor- unlike in the US, kids that don't want or don't seem right for higher
education and positions are directed to technical schools or right into the work force at 16 years old.
It is culturally a wider accepted concept that manual work is just as essential and important for a nation as is the engineering and managing work, so
there is no notion of shame at choosing that path instead of wasting years in college). Result is less need for immigrants to do that work.
-But also immigrants that come in anyway, do not work at all, and take advantage of the social security! THIS is a problem where I am! Their birthrate
is explosive as well, compared to the native population.
Off the top of my head, my own opinion can be summed up thus:
Many of the EU nations, that are older and have already been through the phases of being a world power, imperialism, and the fall from that, have
formed cultures that are much wiser in some respects- more balanced. They have learned much and yes, some of the fugue of youth has left them, along
with the folly.
They generally are less innovative... and although us americans tend to reject past as useless, looking forward to future only, the past and what has
been already can be a gold mine of wisdom, which I think we underestimate in our surge for material riches!
But like old people that get ripped off by unethical conmen, and end up supporting the screw up grandchild, that happens too. It IS happening.