Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A brief note on the restored Mediterranean periphery

At the end of the day of the most recent Greek legislative election that--one hopes--will see the formation of a Greek government capable of doing something, I just wanted to note that all this economic chaos in Europe may augur a restoration of the post-Second World War traditional patterns of migration within Europe, from the countries of the Mediterranean basin to the north.

The Eurozone might survive the current crisis fully intact, keeping all 17 of its member-states; the Eurozone might fall apart completely; most likely, I suspect, the Eurozone will crumble at the edges, particularly along the Mediterranean periphery, with Greece being the most likely candidate for exit. Peripheral countries face two options: if they remain inside the Eurozone, massive internal devaluation will be needed to bring economies to some sort of stability, creating excellent incentives for migration to more-favoured countries elsewhere in the Eurozone like northern Europe; if they exist the Eurozone, then the resulting economic collapse--especially in the context of current provisions for passport-free migration across Europe--will create excellent incentives for migration to more-favoured countries elsewhere in the Eurozone.

Mass migration from peripheral countries in the Eurozone--the Portugal-Italy-Ireland-Greece-Spain combination often cited in the press--seems inevitable. Critically from the perspective of these five countries, all save Ireland have had very low rates of net population replacement from the 1980s on. The emigration of so many people from these countries--often the young, often the talented--is going to have serious effects on the long-term futures of these countries, just as it may benefit (if all is handled well) the countries in northern Europe and elsewhere receiving these migrants.



Борис Денисов said...

Why Southern devaluation will cause migrtion to North?
guess, opposite direction is more likely

Randy McDonald said...

Migration from northern Europe to Mediterranean Europe? Why?

Dan said...


Southern non-devaluation, i.e. 1930's style, capital 'D' Depression, is what southern Europe has been facing for several years now. With something like 50% unemployment for young people, southern Europe has provided every reason for the young to leave.

Presumably with devaluation, the job market (and the rest of the economy) could recover and the reasons to leave would be less.

Iceland is cruising nicely post devaluation, as is Argentina. Telling the world to go to hell can be quite theraputic.

ramon said...

bviously (young) people start to leave those Southern European countries that are hit hardest by the recent labour market crisis, i.e. Greece and Spain. In 2011, Germany – the tower of economic strength in the EU - registered the highest net migration figures since 1996, driven first and foremost by immigration from Eastern Europe, as figures from the German Office of Statistics (DESTATIS) show:

However, the influx from Greece and Spain to Germany tripled and doubled since 2008, while the out-migration from Germany to those countries stagnated (in the case of Spain) and decreased by half (in the case of Greece), see: https://www.destatis.de/DE/Publikationen/Thematisch/Bevoelkerung/Wanderungen/vorlaeufigeWanderungen5127101117005.xls?__blob=publicationFile

Seems like the European masses are heading North, not South – or, in fact, are still moving from the East to the West. See also the Gastarbeiter 2.0 post at metropop.eu: